January 8, 2003
HEART HEALTH PROGRAM AIMED AT LATINO POPULATION
Charlotte, NC - The Mecklenburg County Health Department will administer a new, grant-funded program to reduce the risk factors of cardiovascular disease in the Hispanic population.
The "Salud para Su Corazon," or Heart Health Outreach Program, will utilize Spanish-speaking lay health educators and volunteers to collaborate with churches, employers and other community based organizations to initiate heart health programs.
"Salud para Su Corazon" will focus on diabetes, cholesterol, hypertension and obesity, and how lifestyle changes like exercise, good nutrition and stopping smoking can improve overall health.
Individuals who complete the program will demonstrate increased knowledge about heart health risk reduction, improved "readiness" to make positive changes in health habits, and improved health behavior.
The Hispanic population in Charlotte-Mecklenburg has increased significantly over the last 10 years, growing from 6,692 to 44,871 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That's an increase of 570 percent. Hispanic clients now make up a larger percentage of visitors to the Health Department. In 2001, nearly 18 percent of all clients were Hispanic, an increase of 121 percent since 1998.
National figures indicate that Hispanics are more likely than other demographic groups to suffer from some highly preventable diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer. They are also less likely to have access to health insurance and adequate preventive medical care.
Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death among Mecklenburg County's Hispanic population. "Salud para Su Corazon" is an opportunity for the Health Department to reach out to this rapidly expanding population with health messages that are culturally specific and language appropriate.
A $20,000 grant from the National Council of La Raza will help fund the program. The National Council of La Raza is a nonprofit group working to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans.