NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Race, Ethnicity And Preventive Services: No Gains For Hispanics

March 12, 2001

Providing preventive care services is a key aim of primary care. Preventive care screening and immunizations can promote early diagnosis and treatment of disease and prevent serious illness.

Two Census Bureau household surveys, one conducted in 1996-1997 and the other in 1998-1999, show trends in the use of preventive care services among racial and ethnic groups.

  • In 1998-1999, approximately 80 percent of white and African Americans reported seeing a physician in the last year, compared to only 68 percent of Hispanics.
  • Although Hispanics' annual physician visits had increased by 4 percentage points from the previous year, they still lagged far behind whites and blacks.
  • Hispanics also received less counseling from their doctors to quite smoking and were less likely to have received a mammogram in the last two years than either white or African Americans.

According to the author, "[t]he striking finding from the two Household Surveys is the disparity in preventive care for Hispanics....The low use of preventive services by Hispanics may be the result of various factors, including lack of health insurance, language barriers and or other culture issues."

Source: J. Lee Hargraves, "Race, Ethnicity And Preventive Services: No Gains For Hispanics," Issue Brief No 34, January 2001, Center for Studying Health System Change.


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