Combating High Levels of Cardiovascular Disease
The Latino community in East Los Angeles experiences higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and other obesity-related chronic diseases than residents of other areas in Los Angeles. In an effort to tackle ethnic health problems such as these, the National Institutes of Health has given a $10 million grant to fund a Center for Population Health and Health Disparities in partnership with the University of Southern California, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and several community collaborators.
The center hopes to implement family and neighborhood interventions using a community-based participatory approach in an attempt to target the rampant health issues in East L.A. Specific attention will be paid to the incidences of cardiovascular disease across generations to help determine how acculturation and eating habits and lifestyles affect health.
Professor Alex Ortega at UCLA's School of Public Health speculates that low rates of physical activity and poor eating practices might be contributing to the uniquely high levels of cardiovascular disease in the Latino population of East Los Angeles. He feels that a community-centered intervention is needed to promote healthier lifestyles.