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June, 2007

Hispanic Health Program

                           DATA ACTIVITIES


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The U.S. Hispanic/Latino population is at higher risk than some other population groups for health problems such as diabetes, lack of health insurance, and lack of early prenatal care.

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To make informed assessments of the extent of health problems facing the Hispanic/Latino population, it is important to have comprehensive data, including data on these subgroups.

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Obtaining data for Hispanics/Latinos and these subgroups is a challenge for data collection because of their relatively small numbers in the population and geographic dispersion. Culturally and linguistically appropriate data collection materials and bilingual interviewers are also necessary.


National Center for Health Statistics’(NCHS) surveys and data systems provide fundamental public health and health policy statistics that meet the needs of a wide range of users. These data are used by policymakers in Congress and the Administration, by medical researchers, and by others in the health community to track changes in health and health care.

Example of program in action:
  NCHS has improved its basic data collection for Hispanics/Latinos. The major NCHS population-based health surveys, the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), and the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), over-sample for Hispanics/Latinos, which helps produce more accurate estimates. These surveys have been translated into Spanish and provide bilingual interviewers. Ethnicity detail shown in major NCHS publications has increased. NCHS supports ongoing research into improving methods for assessing the health of racial and ethnic populations, including ways to improve the designs of ongoing national studies.


Possible future enhancements include: 1.) The use of a modified NHANES, the "Community HANES," to obtain objective health measures for sub-national populations. With appropriate funding, this tool could be used in areas with concentrated Hispanic/Latino populations, such as South Florida, the New York City area, and the U.S./Mexico border region; and 2.) Increased methodological research on issues that affect Hispanic/Latino populations, such as the bias in death rates resulting from the misreporting of Hispanic ethnicity on death certificates.

For more information contact the National Center for Health Statistics; 6525 Belcrest Road, Hyattsville, MD 20782: (301)458-4636:

Back to the Hispanic/Latino Populations Page



Hispanic Health Program
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