New Study Serves Up Latinos’ Health Habits

New Study Serves Up Latinos’ Health Habits

LatinoEyes Health Beat reveals driving force behind attitudes and behaviors


Chicago, IL–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–May 9, 2007–Staying healthy for most of the 44 million Latinos living in the US means watching their diet/what they eat (84 percent) and exercising regularly (79 percent). Only 30 percent of Latinos report that they do preventive care or take medications to help them to stay healthy according to the new LatinoEyes Health Beat report.

The insightful study reveals that the most potent factor influencing Latinos’ health perceptions and behaviors is their acculturation level. The report finds that awareness of diseases due to ethnicity is higher among acculturated Latinos than unacculturated Latinos but at least 40 percent of all Latinos are aware of their personal family history as it relates to health conditions and hereditary diseases.

“Our research reveals that acculturated and bi-cultural Latinos tend to have a better understanding and grasp of the health risks they face whether they are driven by ethnicity, family history or lifestyle habits,” says Angelina Villarreal, vice president, C&R Research. “It underscores the need for continual health education for this large population segment particularly the unacculturated set.”

Looking at a variety of important health-related issues, the LatinoEyes Health Beat survey finds that while 71 percent of all respondents say the most visible sign of an unhealthy person is excessive weight, acculturated Latinos concur with this 15 percent more often than unacculturated Latinos. Unacculturated Latinos also perceive being lazy as unhealthy much more so than the acculturated.

On the whole, Latinos think exercising regularly (28 percent) is the most important thing to maintaining good health followed by eating well (22 percent). Exercise is seen as more important to the acculturated than the unacculturated. In addition, for the unacculturated eating fruits/vegetables and a low fat/low sugar diet is much more important for good health than for the acculturated Latino.

Here is a look at some of the other LatinoEyes Health Beat study findings:

Health Perceptions and Behaviors

— On the go…Latinos believe that the main visible sign of a healthy person is being energetic (75 percent) and active (68 percent).

— Unhealthy habits…When asked what are the most visible signs of an unhealthy person, Latinos responded being overweight (71 percent), being lazy (48 percent) and having dark circles under your eyes (46 percent). One-third says being very thin is a sign of poor health.

— Lazy bones…Unacculturated Latinos perceive a lazy person as unhealthy much more so than the acculturated (56 percent versus 43 percent).

— Thin is not “in”…Young Latinos have a positive perspective on body size and type with Latinos between the ages of 18-24 years old remarking being thin is a sign of an unhealthy person more often than other age groups.

— Body image…A proportionate body is significantly less likely to be perceived as a sign of being healthy among the unacculturated than the acculturated (35 percent versus 47 percent).

— Cleanliness is key…Acculturated Latinos think an unclean person is unhealthy more so than the unacculturated (30 percent versus 18 percent).

— Perfect fit…The unacculturated (12 percent) consider themselves underweight more so than the acculturated (three percent).

Healthy Habits

— Keeping fit…When asked what are some of the things they do to stay healthy, Latinos responded diet (84 percent) and exercise (79 percent).

— Benefits of rest and socialization…Latinos believe in the restorative power of rest and socialization, with at least 12 percent citing them as things they do to stay healthy.

— Walk it off…Walking is the preferred exercise of Latinos, cited nearly four times more often than running and approximately two times more than going to the gym. However, acculturated Hispanics mentioned walking 60 percent more often than unacculturated Hispanics.

— It doesn’t work…Unacculturated Latinos are four times more likely to state that they do not feel any different when they eat healthy and exercise when compared to acculturated Latinos.

— You’ve come a long way baby…Sixty-eight percent of Latinos are aware that smoking increases the risk of hereditary diseases which perhaps plays a role in why only nine percent of the respondents smoke. Awareness of the risks associated with smoking is similar across acculturation groups.

Eating Habits

— Vices…Only three percent of Latinos think avoiding vices such as chocolate, fatty foods, etc. is important to maintaining good health.

— Family first…Ensuring that their family remains healthy by preparing home cooked meals and encouraging them to exercise is a more common practice among the unacculturated (52 percent) than the acculturated (41 percent). Additionally, unacculturated Latinos are more likely to worry about their children’s health (77 percent).

— Diet craze…Latino men are more likely than Latino women to say that they are not on a strict diet (58 percent versus 48 percent). While they may not follow a particular diet, Latino males are more likely to stay active than Latino females (59 percent versus 42 percent).

— An apple a day…Eating fruits and vegetables is more of a concern for males than females (11 percent versus five percent).

— Caffeinated…Coffee intake is higher among Latino males than Latino females and increases with age.

Here’s to Your Health

— Stress free environment…Males believe they live a stress-free life more than females (27 percent versus 13 percent). The unacculturated and the biculturals also are more likely to believe they live a stress-free life than the acculturated.

— Home remedies…Six in 10 Latinos have used home remedies to cure a sickness with the practice being much more common among the unacculturated and the biculturals than the acculturated (80 percent and 72 percent versus 55 percent).

— Vitamins…Thirty-three percent of Latinos take a daily vitamin/supplement. Puerto Ricans are more likely to take a daily vitamin/supplement than Mexicans.

— Prescriptions…Cubans are more likely than Mexicans to take prescription drugs.

About the Survey

LatinoEyes, a leading research firm specializing in the influential Latino market, conducted the comprehensive study between January 23 and January 30, 2007. The information is based on a national sampling of 1,641 men and women who are members of the LatinoEyes online panels. The margin of error is +/- five percent.

About LatinoEyes

LatinoEyes offers a wide range of products and specialized services to meet the divergent needs of clients. Using culturally-appropriate methods, LatinoEyes keeps the pulse of the Latino markets. From strategic research design to exceptional execution to insightful analysis, the focus is on providing outstanding custom-design quantitative and qualitative market research. For more information about LatinoEyes, visit

New Study Serves Up Latinos’ Health Habits