Health Needs of Hispanic and Latino Community in Florida

Introduction

The State of Florida is characterized by a great variety of ethnic population groups which compose its demographics. Resembling a nation-wide trend, this state’s residents include many immigrants, a large part of which come from the countries of Latin America. Therefore, a significant part of Florida’s population is occupied by Hispanic/Latino population. When assessing community health needs, one should include the considerations concerning the health-related issues which this population encounters. Thus, it is essential to analyze the community’s health concerns and their determinants to provide an evidential basis for further improvement program implementation.

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Since the Hispanic immigrants deal with challenges related to adaptation to a new environment, they tend to use alcohol and engage in risky behaviors, which adversely impact health. In this paper, the health needs of the Hispanic/Latino community in Florida, USA will be assessed based on the demographic analysis, primary health issues identification, and determination of population groups whose needs need to be addressed. The assessment is carried out based on data retrieved from recent scholarly articles and official health needs reports.

Demographic Characteristics of the State of Florida

Florida’s population is comprised of individuals of diverse ethnicities, races, socioeconomic statuses, cultural and spiritual backgrounds. As the US Census Bureau (n. d.) states, the total number of citizens in Florida as of 2018 is 21,299,325 individuals with median age 41.8 years and the median income per household of $50,883. The demographic representation of the ethnicities of the population is as follows: 11,124,951 White alone (not Hispanic) citizens, 3,270,863 African American individuals, Asian alone 543,394 citizens, 5,015,015 Hispanic or Latino residents (United States Census Bureau, n. d., para. 14-22).

The demographic data indicates that Hispanic/Latino ethnicity is dominating in number among all other minority groups. In particular, it constitutes “just under a quarter of Florida residents” (Central Florida Community Benefit Collaboration, 2016, p. 18). Therefore, it is vital to address the health needs of this community specifically.

According to the Central Florida Community Benefit Collaboration (2016), the state of health in a community “is determined by the physical, mental, environmental, spiritual and social well-being of all community residents” and is highly impacted by their cultural background (p. 11). The trends in health problems show that the main physical illnesses experienced by Hispanics in Florida include heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, and HIV (Central Florida Community Benefit Collaboration, 2016).

Also, it was found that the Hispanic population demonstrates the least insurance rate out of all ethnicities in Florida, as well as shows high rates of birth mortality and morbidity. Latina immigrants are exposed to mental health problems caused by environmental, sociocultural, and spiritual factors which lead to acculturative stress and substance abuse (Ertl, Dillon, Martin, Babino, & De La Rosa, 2018). Alcohol use is regarded as the primary issues of concern for the characterized population due to its adverse outcomes for both mental and physical health.

Population Groups Impacted by the Identified Health Concerns

For full-scale high-quality community health needs assessment, one should incorporate the influential factors determining the health concerns for a particular group with the outcomes to find an effective solution for the identified problems. In case of Hispanic/Latina community in Florida, alcohol abuse is regarded as an issue that is stemmed from stress imposed by sociocultural difficulties adapting to a new society and increases the risk for sexually unsafe behaviors, HIV, and STD. The population groups impacted by these health concerns include young Hispanic men and young Hispanic women with low-income level who have recently immigrated (Ertl et al., 2018; Ibanez et al., 2017; McCoy, Shehadeh, & Rubens, 2016).

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Alcohol consumption is a significant facilitator of mental and physical illnesses. As the study by Ertl et al. (2018) found, young adult Hispanic women who used alcohol were more likely to experience acculturative stress, anxiety, and depression. Moreover, excessive substance consumption was identified as a leading factor for engagement in risky sexual behaviors. Interestingly, the rates of alcohol use are closely related to HIV risks (McCoy et al., 2016).

This tendency is crucial to address in the health care programs because on a nation-wide scale, “Latinos, who comprise only 17% of the US population, account for 21% of all new HIV infections” (Ibanez et al., 2017, p. 511). Latina women are the population group that is disproportionately exposed to HIV risks, which ultimately lead to an increase in morbidity and mortality rates. Therefore, it is vital to eliminate alcohol abuse and related sexual risk behaviors to reduce HIV rates among the Hispanic population in Florida.

Conclusion

In summary, the Hispanic/Latina community comprises a significant part of the population of Florida. The primary health concerns of this population group are essential in community needs assessment due to their impact on the health of the whole nation. The identified health problems among young Hispanic men and women include HIV, mental disorders, and related complications caused by substance abuse. It was found that the socioeconomic and cultural factors were decisive in the population’s engagement in alcohol use and unprotected sex, which are primary contributors to HIV risk. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a program of culturally-sensitive interventions to meet the health needs of Hispanic citizens in Florida.

References

Central Florida Community Benefit Collaboration. (2016). Community health needs assessment: 2016 report. Web.

Ertl, M. M., Dillon, F. R., Martin, J. L., Babino, R., & De La Rosa, M. (2018). Alcohol use exacerbates acculturative stress among recently immigrated, young adult Latinas. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 20, 594-602.

Ibanez, G. E., Whitt, E., Avent, T., Martin, S. S., Varga, L. M., Cano, M. A., & O’Connell, D. J. (2017). ‘Love and trust, you can be blinded’: HIV risk within relationships among Latina women in Miami, Florida. Ethnicity & Health, 22(5), 510-527.

McCoy, H. V., Shehadeh, N., & Rubens, M. (2016). Alcohol use and sexual risk behaviors in a migrant worker community. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 18, 561-567.

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United States Census Bureau. (n.d.). Florida. Web.

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