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LATINO HEALTH IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM: THE NEED FOR A CULTURE-CENTERED APPROACH

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Studies have consistently shown race and ethnicity to be important determinants of health. The specific nature of this influence, however, is still a mystery. In the new millennium, racial and ethnic differentials in health are bound to become a major focus in medical sociology not only because of their persistence but also because of the demographic changes taking place in the United States. It is estimated that racial and ethnic minorities are expected to increase from the current level of 25 % of all Americans to 40 % by 2030 and that minority groups will make up more than half of the U.S. population by 2050. Thus, overcoming health disparities attributable to race and ethnicity has become more urgent in ensuring good health for the nation. This article suggests that analyses of the health status of Latinos, the second largest minority group in the country, must attend to cultural factors. The need for a culture-specific approach to Latino health is indispensable to such discourses in medical sociology.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2001

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