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June, 2007

Hispanic Health Program



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Studies show an association between prenatal exposure to alcohol and increased risk for fetal alcohol syndrome and other adverse effects on the developing fetus.

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One in 30 pregnant and one in eight nonpregnant women report binge drinking ( > 5 alcoholic drinks on any one occasion) or frequent drinking ( > 7 alcoholic drinks per week or > 5 alcoholic drinks on any one occasion).

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In 2000, Hispanic/Latina women represented 14% of reproductive-aged women (15-44 years) and accounted for 20% of all live births.

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Monitoring rates of prenatal alcohol use among Hispanic/Latina women is extremely important.


Because prenatal alcohol exposure is a leading preventable cause of birth defects, decreasing alcohol use among pregnant women is a national health goal. CDC's Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Prevention Team oversees various programs which prevent prenatal alcohol exposure around the country. These programs serve women of all racial and ethnic groups, including Hispanic/Latina women. Little health data exist about Hispanic/Latina women's knowledge of the effects of alcohol during pregnancy on the fetus. In addition, the success of interventions to prevent alcohol exposure during pregnancies specifically among Hispanic/Latina women is still unknown.

Example of program in action:
  San Diego State University and the University of Texas at San Antonio are examining the alcohol consumption patterns and characteristics of pregnant and nonpregnant Hispanic/Latina women of child bearing age. Their investigations are leading to new and effective interventions to prevent alcohol consumption during pregnancy for this population.


Raising public awareness about the dangers of alcohol use among Hispanic/Latina pregnant and nonpregnant women of childbearing age is essential. Programs such as those in San Antonio and San Diego will provide invaluable information on effective interventions for the Hispanic/Latino population. Future studies can contribute important information and greatly impact the health and well-being of Hispanic/Latino children born in the United States.

For more information, contact the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Mailstop F49, 4770 Buford Highway NE, Atlanta, GA 30341: (770) 488-4549:

Back to the Hispanic/Latino Populations Page



Hispanic Health Program
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