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Report: Idaho Latinos Face Disparities In Weight, Health Care

A new report finds Latinos in Idaho are struggling with many of the same health problems as the rest of the state’s population … but to an even worse extent. The wide-ranging demographic study is intended to guide policymakers on issues that affect Hispanics.

Overall, the findings paint a picture of a Hispanic population that's young and mostly born in the U.S. About half speak English at home and Latinos in Idaho are more likely to own their home than Latinos in other states.

But when it comes to two big issues in public health, Hispanics face wide disparities with non-Hispanics in Idaho. Latinos are more likely to be overweight and uninsured.

Linda Powell of the Idaho Partnership for Hispanic Health is trying to close that gap. She says Spanish-speaking families who need care are facing a double language barrier -- English and the language of the medical system.

“And unfortunately in a lot of rural clinics, they don't have professional medical translators," Powell says. "And so people bring in their kids and it puts both the parents and the kids in a difficult position if they're talking about sensitive issues with their medical providers.”

The report found Latinos are generally in worse health than the rest of the population in Idaho. Hispanic teens tend to drink and smoke at an earlier age, and they watch more hours of television -- though the findings did show they’re more likely to eat fruits and veggies.

The report was produced by the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs.

On the Web:

Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs
Idaho Partnership for Hispanic Health