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Prev Chronic Dis. 2016 Aug 25;13:E113. doi: 10.5888/pcd13.160020.

The Precarious Health of Young Mexican American Men in South Texas, Cameron County Hispanic Cohort, 2004-2015.

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University of Texas School of Public Health, Brownsville Regional Campus, 1 W University Blvd, Brownsville, TX 78520. Email:
University of Texas School of Public Health, Brownsville Regional Campus, Brownsville, Texas.
Institute for Research on Men's Health, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee.
Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.
Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School, Houston, Texas.



Hispanic men have higher rates of illness and death from various chronic conditions than do non-Hispanic men. We aimed to characterize the health of Mexican American men living on the US-Mexico border in South Texas and elucidate indications of chronic disease in young men.


We sampled all male participants from the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort, an ongoing population-based cohort of Mexican Americans in Brownsville, Texas. We calculated descriptive statistics and stratified the sample into 3 age groups to estimate the prevalence of sociodemographic, behavioral, and clinical factors by age group and evaluated differences between age groups.


Obesity prevalence was approximately 50% across all age groups (P = .83). Diabetes prevalence was high overall (26.8%), and 16.9% (95% confidence interval [CI], 10.1%-23.8%) of men younger than 35 had diabetes. More than 70% of these young men had elevated liver enzymes, and mean values of aspartate aminotransferase were significantly higher in younger men (45.0 u/L; 95% CI, 39.5-50.6 u/L) than in both older age groups. Less than 20% of young men had any form of health insurance. Current smoking was higher in young men than in men in the other groups, and the rate was higher than the national prevalence of current smoking among Hispanic men.


We suggest a need for obesity and diabetes prevention programs and smoking cessation programs for men in this region. Opportunities exist to expand current intervention programs and tailor them to better reach this vulnerable population of young Hispanic men. Elevated liver enzymes in men younger than 35 suggest a substantial burden of liver abnormalities, a finding that warrants further study.

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