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Latino Daily News

Thursday September 30, 2010

Health Status of those Living on the Border Rife with Challenges

The U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission has published a comprehensive study on the health status in the U.S.-Mexico border region defined as 44 counties that are located either in California, Arizona, Texas or New Mexico.

Data presented in this document provides critical information for the use of policymakers, public health professionals, researchers, community members, and all others working to improve the health of border residents.

Key finds show the border population disproportionately affected by diabetes, cervical cancer, certain communicable diseases including tuberculosis, and certain injuries, while showing a low infant mortality rate and a low death rate from two of the nation’s leading causes of death, heart disease and cancer.

The rapid growth of this population poses a challenge to provide enough health care workers.  The cultural and language barriers and lack of health insurance combined with other factors is also an impediment to accessing health care.  Barriers to access are particularly acute for Hispanic border residents. 

Two critical factors affecting health status – overall levels of poverty and unemployment – are very high in the border area, noting that the homicide rate in U.S. border counties is substantially below the national level.