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N C Med J. 2003 May-Jun;64(3):97-105.

A review of available data on the health of the Latino population in North Carolina.

Author information

  • 1State Center for Health Statistics, North Carolina Division of Public Health, 1908 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1908, USA.



To portray major health problems and conditions in the Latino population of North Carolina.


Presentation of descriptive information from North Carolina data sets on Latino health issues, with whites and African Americans as comparison groups.


Statewide data on the health of the Latino population are provided from the following data sets: North Carolina Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), death certificates, North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner records, sexually transmitted disease reports, reported pregnancies, certificates of live birth, North Carolina Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), and North Carolina Birth Defects Monitoring Program (BDMP) cases.


Review of existing data systems.


Latinos in North Carolina have high death rates from motor vehicle injuries and homicide. Latinos who die from unintentional injuries, homicide, and suicide are much more likely than whites or African Americans to have a high blood alcohol level. Latinos are less likely than other groups to have health insurance. Latinos have much higher pregnancy rates, both for teens and older women, and are more likely to begin prenatal care late or have no prenatal care. Rates of sexually transmitted disease are higher than those for whites but lower than those for African Americans. Latinos are more likely to initiate breastfeeding. Latinos have a higher rate of neural tube defects compared to the other groups, while being less likely to take folic acid every day before pregnancy. Despite lower family incomes, later entry into prenatal care, and higher rates of certain birth defects, Latinos had the lowest rates of low birth weight and infant mortality. Lower rates of smoking during pregnancy among Latinos may partially account for the better birth outcomes.


Many of the health issues among Latinos in North Carolina are consistent with the fact that they are a very young, mainly recently-arrived, immigrant population with more males than females.


These findings may provide a basis for designing more effective health improvement programs for the Latino population of North Carolina.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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