Health Risks of Latino Children

Published in: JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, v. 288, no. 16, Oct. 23/30, 2002, Letters, p. 1981-1983

by Michael A. Rodriguez, Rosa Solorio, David E. Hayes-Bautista, T. Bella Dinh-Zarr, Elizabeth Heitman, Susan P. Baker, Federico E. Vaca, William Wen, Scott Osberg, Carolyn DiGuiseppi, et al.

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Homicide is the second leading cause of death for Latino children in the United States; the 1999 rate among Latinos aged 1 to 18 years is twice that of white non-Latinos. Poverty and low educational attainment, both of which have high prevalence among Latino youth, are associated with homicide and violent injuries. In addition to these conditions, access to firearms and alcohol contribute to homicide and other injuries. The accessibility of alcohol may also place Latinos at increased risk of homicide and violent injuries. To decrease the accessibility of guns and alcohol and reduce homicide for Latino and other youth, educational strategies, environmental modification, and enhanced surveillance are needed. Further research is needed to identify the risk and protective factors that affect the likelihood of violence among Latinos and other children. Research is also needed to develop and evaluate community-based interventions to prevent violence. In addition, easy access to firearms and alcohol suggests a need to develop, evaluate, and enforce policies that reduce the availability of these products to youth.

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