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1.  Prevalence of Mental Health Issues in the Borderlands: A Comparative Perspective 
The purpose of this paper is to (a) examine the results of a binational study of two colonias near El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, focusing on mental health and (b) analyze those results in relation to the existing literature on Hispanic mental health to determine how border regions compare with Hispanic enclaves in nonborder regions. We focus on gender, birthplace, length of residency, and level of acculturation correlated with self-reported diagnoses of depression in our analysis. Our survey instrument incorporates portions of the Behavioral Risk Factor and Surveillance Survey; the SF36, version 2; and the CAGE scale for alcohol use and abuse. We found that birthplace, acculturation, and length of residency at the border did not correlate in the same ways to mental health issues as in nonborder regions.
PMCID: PMC4218741  PMID: 25374480
2.  Perceptions of Community Health Workers (CHWs/PS) in the U.S.-Mexico Border HEART CVD Study 
Although prior research has shown that Community Health Workers/Promotores de Salud (CHW/PS) can facilitate access to care, little is known about how CHW/PS are perceived in their community. The current study reports the findings of a randomized telephone survey conducted in a high-risk urban community environment along the U.S.-Mexico border. In preparation for a community-based CHW/PS intervention called the HEART ecological study, the survey aimed to assess perceptions of CHW/PS, availability and utilization of community resources (recreational and nutrition related) and health behaviors and intentions. A total of 7,155 calls were placed to complete 444 surveys in three zip codes in El Paso, Texas. Results showed that participants felt that healthful community resources were available, but utilization was low and variable: 35% reported going to a park, 20% reported having taken a health class, few reported using a gym (12%), recreation center (8%), or YMCA/YWCA (0.9%). Awareness and utilization of CHW/PS services were low: 20% of respondents had heard of CHW/PS, with 8% reporting previous exposure to CHW/PS services. Upon review of a definition of CHW/PS, respondents expressed positive views of CHW/PS and their value in the healthcare system. Respondents who had previous contact with a CHW/PS reported a significantly more positive perception of the usefulness of CHW/PS (p = 0.006), were more likely to see CHW/PS as an important link between providers and patients (p = 0.008), and were more likely to ask a CHW/PS for help (p = 0.009). Participants who utilized CHW/PS services also had significantly healthier intentions to reduce fast food intake. Future research is needed to evaluate if CHW/PS can facilitate utilization of available community resources such as recreational facilities among Hispanic border residents at risk for CVD.
PMCID: PMC3945574  PMID: 24518646
community health worker; Hispanics; cardiovascular disease; community health resources
3.  Actions to Control High Blood Pressure Among Hypertensive Adults in Texas Counties Along the Mexico Border: Texas BRFSS, 2007 
Public Health Reports  2012;127(2):173-185.
We examined the prevalence of actions taken to control blood pressure as measured by taking antihypertensive medication or making lifestyle modifications among hypertensive adults residing along the Texas/Mexico border.
We used self-reported data from the 2007 Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, with oversampling of border counties. We calculated the age-standardized prevalence of actions taken to control hypertension by selected characteristics.
In analyses that combined ethnicity with predominant language spoken, those least likely to take any action to control their blood pressure—either by taking an antihypertensive medication or by making any of four lifestyle modifications—were Spanish-speaking Hispanic people (83.2% ± 2.7% standard error [SE]), with English-speaking non-Hispanic people (88.9% ± 0.8% SE) having the highest prevalence of taking action to control blood pressure. When analyzed by type of medical category, uninsured Hispanic people (63.8% ± 4.8% SE) had the lowest prevalence of taking action to control their blood pressure compared with uninsured non-Hispanic people (75.4% ± 4.7% SE). Nonborder Texas residents with hypertension were more likely to take antihypertensive medications (78.4% ± 1.0% SE) than border county residents with hypertension (70.7% ± 2.0% SE).
Public health efforts must be undertaken to improve the control of hypertension among residents of Texas counties along the Mexico border, particularly for uninsured Hispanic people.
PMCID: PMC3268802  PMID: 22379217
4.  Ethnic Pride and Cardiovascular Health Among Mexican American Adults Along the U.S.-Mexico Border 
This study addressed the association between items from the General Acculturation Index (GAI) and cardiovascular health. Specifically, we assessed whether ethnic pride was associated with health outcomes after controlling for items regarding language, place where the childhood was spent and ethnic interaction. The study was a cross sectional analysis of demographic and clinical data from a border population of Mexican American adults (n=316) at risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Outcomes included smoking and diabetes status, Framingham risk, and metabolic syndrome. Ethnic pride was associated with lower diabetes prevalence, lower Framingham risk, and fewer risk factors for metabolic syndrome, but was not associated with smoking status. Ethnic pride was not associated with the other acculturation items of the GAI. Among an at-risk border population, ethnic pride functioned independently of other acculturation indicators. Ethnic pride may act as a protective factor for diabetes, metabolic syndrome and CVD risk status.
PMCID: PMC3355518  PMID: 22610060
ethnic pride; diabetes; cardiovascular; metabolic syndrome; Hispanic; acculturation
5.  Place of Residence Modifies the Association Between Acculturation and Dietary Tools Knowledge Among Latina WIC Participants: A Multi-State Study 
This cross-sectional study assessed: (a) awareness and knowledge of federal dietary tools (MyPyramid, Food Guide Pyramid (FGP), and food labels (FL)), and (b) the influence of acculturation and state of residence on FGP knowledge (FGPK) indicators among low-income Latina WIC participants (N = 479) living in Connecticut, Ohio, Texas, and California. Participants were familiar with FGP but only 37% recognized MyPyramid. FGPK was highest for fruits (71%) and lowest for the ‘breads and cereals’ group (12%). Less than half (47%) used FL’s when grocery shopping. Living in OH, was associated with the lowest FGPK. Multivariate analyses showed that more acculturated individuals living in CT/CA had better FGPK than participants living in TX and their less acculturated counterparts in CT/CA. The forthcoming revised federal dietary tools need to be adequately disseminated among Latinos, with special emphasis on those with lower acculturation levels, living in rapid emerging Latino communities or in the US–Mexico border.
PMCID: PMC3050110  PMID: 20549357
Dietary Guidelines; Hispanic; Latino; Food Guide Pyramid; Food label; Nutrition education/knowledge; WIC
6.  Impacting obesity and glycemic control using a culturally-sensitive diabetes education program in Hispanic patients with type 2 diabetes 
Diabetes mellitus and obesity are prevalent in the Hispanic community. This group has not benefited greatly from diabetes interventions due to cultural, language and financial constraints. We designed a prospective cohort study to determine the clinical impact on adiposity and glycemic control in Hispanics with type 2 diabetes.
Research design and methods
The program conducted in Spanish by a multidisciplinary team of health care providers focused on improving glycemic control and complications through cultural lifestyle changes. Outcomes were changes in glycemic control by fasting insulin, glucose and HbA1c, body composition and selected adipokines, adiponectin, leptin and ghrelin. Body composition was measured by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. Changes from baseline at three months were compared using paired t-tests and with Spearman’s correlations.
Glycemic control improved by HbA1c (7.9% ± 2.0% vs 7.1% ± 1.7%; P = <0.001), and fasting glucose (166.4 ± 66.0 mg/dl vs 143.2 ± 57.9 mg/dl; P = 0.003). Body weight (81.3 ± 17.9 kg vs 80.3 ± 18.0 kg; P = 0.002), waist circumference (101.6 ± 13.4 cm vs 99.1 ± 12.7 cm; P = 0.015), and truncal fat (16.5 ± 5.7 kg vs 15.9 ± 5.6 kg; P = 0.001) decreased. Only leptin (19.6 ± 15.0 ng/ml vs 16.3 ± 12.7 ng/ml; P = 0.002) was reduced and related to change in body weight (r = 0.392; P = 0.022).
Our program significantly improved glycemic control and decreased obesity in diabetic Hispanic subjects. The early benefits on glycemic control may be related to reductions in leptin through loss of adipose tissue. Success in impacting diabetes and related complications can occur in a culturally focused and multidisciplinary context.
PMCID: PMC3036541  PMID: 21318090
glycemic control; obesity; leptin; culture
7.  Improved Clinical Outcomes Using a Culturally Sensitive Diabetes Education Program in a Hispanic Population 
The Diabetes educator  2008;34(4):698-706.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a culturally sensitive diabetes education program for Hispanics with type 2 diabetes.
This study is a prospective cohort study to test the impact of a comprehensive diabetes education program on blood glucose control on Hispanics with type 2 diabetes. The educational program focused on maintaining glycemic control and general aspects of managing diabetes and complications. The study participants were recruited by flyers placed in Hispanic markets and in ambulatory care clinics. A total of 34 Hispanic male and female subjects with type 2 diabetes participated in the study. The concentrations of glucose, insulin, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol were analyzed at baseline and at 3 months.
A significant mean change was observed for HbA1c, fasting plasma glucose, cholesterol/HDL ratio, and HDL after 3 months of education compared with baseline. There were significant reductions in weight, total fat, percent fat, trunk fat, and waist-to-hip ratio compared with baseline. After 3 months, subjects showed a significant positive correlation between changes in body mass index and insulin and weight, total fat, trunk fat, and fat free mass and insulin.
A culturally sensitive program conducted in Spanish had a significant impact on important clinical parameters in Hispanic subjects with diabetes in a relatively short time period. The study demonstrates the importance of designing education intervention studies that are sensitive to cultural diversity, particularly in at-risk diabetic subjects.
PMCID: PMC2779017  PMID: 18669812

Results 1-7 (7)