Health Issues in Latino Males: A Social and Structural Approach

Health Issues in Latino Males: A Social and Structural Approach

Health Issues in Latino Males: A Social and Structural Approach

Health Issues in Latino Males: A Social and Structural Approach


It is estimated that more than 50 million Latinos live in the United States. This is projected to more than double by 2050. In Health Issues in Latino Males experts from public health, medicine, and sociology examine the issues affecting Latino men's health and recommend policies to overcome inequities and better serve this population. The book addresses sexual and reproductive health; alcohol, tobacco, and drug use; mental and physical health among those in the juvenile justice or prison systems; chronic diseases; HIV/AIDS; Alzheimer's and dementia; and health issues among war veterans. It discusses utilization, insurance coverage, and research programs, and includes an extensive appendix charting epidemiological data on Latino health.


One of the largest but most neglected disparities in health is the poorer health of men compared to that of women. In the United States, for example, the gap in life expectancy between men and women is larger than the life expectancy differences between blacks and whites and between persons high in income and education compared to those of low socioeconomic status.

There may be a biological contribution to the sex differences in health. In virtually every country of the world, more boys than girls are born each year, but fewer infant boys survive to see their first birthday, and this pattern of elevated health risk persists across the life course. Undoubtedly, though, there is also a large social and cultural component to gender differences in health. The ways in which men are socialized, their role opportunities, obligations, and demands differentially expose them to health risks or resources.

The Hispanic population has emerged as the largest minority population in the United States, but there is still much that we do not understand about the health of Hispanics in general and the determinants of the health of Latino males in particular. And there is reason to be concerned about the health of Latino males. In many large cities, the high school dropout rate for Latino males exceeds 50 percent. Early academic failure can often place one on a trajectory not only for restricted socioeconomic mobility and increased risk of incarceration, but also for elevated health risks. A recent Pew report revealed that one in every one hundred Americans is in jail or prison. For Latino males, it is one in every thirty-six.

Many factors contribute to the lack of information on Hispanic men. One has been the historic neglect of the inclusion of identifiers for Hispanic identity in our health and demographic data systems. Another has been inattention to subgroup variations within the Hispanic population, which is diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, sociodemographic factors, and nativity. One of the unique features of this volume is that the editors have brought together an outstanding multidisciplinary group of academic leaders who have combined their research expertise of studying the Latino population with their personal experience of being members of the Hispanic community themselves. They are thus able to provide a portrait of the challenges faced by Latino males with uncommon insight and sensitivity.

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