Hispanic communities are communities, which practice Spanish culture. In the United States, the term Hispanic is a concept that refers to all individuals, who practice Spanish culture and speak Spanish. Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and Mexicans comprise the Hispanic communities found in the American continent. As such, it is evident that the concept incorporates Latino and Hispanic communities. Although majority of individuals from Hispanic communities practice diverse cultures and lifestyles, they speak Spanish and engage in some Spanish practices, a factor that creates a form of similarity among them. It is within this context that the essay analyses Hispanic population using demographics, healthcare practices, risk behaviors, genetic susceptibility to chronic diseases, nutrition, spirituality, and death rituals.
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The demography of Hispanic communities in the United States demonstrates low economic standards as opposed to other communities. Due to the low economic standards of the communities, majority of them fail to complete the required education, and thus, fail to acquire stable employment, which earns good income. Many Hispanics live in the southwestern part of the country, and hence, their geographic distribution is evident in parts such as Texas, Chicago, California, Colorado, Los Angeles, New York, and Miami. Consequently, the population growth of Hispanics has increased remarkably and currently, they represent about a third of the country’s population (Verdugo, 2012). High birth and immigration rates are among the key drivers that have augmented the population of Hispanic communities.
In the United States, a number of Hispanics do not engage in various healthcare activities. These activities include regular visits to healthcare centers and medical checkups. Poor engagement in these activities implies that the healthcare of Hispanic communities is lower than that of other individuals in the country. Stevens and Shi (2013) explain that many Hispanics do not seek medical attention and prefer self-medication, which at times affect their health. Poor health associated with minimal visits to healthcare centers and medical checkups results from low income and limited education, which inhibits the ability to seek medical attention and maintain superior health standards. Additionally, inadequate resources and limited education renders Hispanic communities incapable of engaging in various preventative measures that can improve the state of their health. Some of the risk behaviors practiced by the Hispanic communities include drug abuse, criminal activities, and immorality. These behaviors are risk oriented, and hence, can lead to death or imprisonment.
Principally, Hispanics have a high genetic susceptibility to diseases such as diabetes, asthma, and cardiovascular ailments. High susceptibility to these diseases transpires because of the various factors that include environmental, genetic, and social factors. Low levels of income and limited education also increase the susceptibility of Hispanics to these chronic diseases. According to Verdugo (2012), lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and heart attacks are among the leading causes of death in many Hispanic communities. Consequently, since Hispanic communities have minimal education and limited resources, their nutrition level is low as opposed to other Non Hispanic Whites. The low nutrition level that is evident among many Hispanics is the main cause of lifestyle diseases that occasion high mortality rates.
The issue of spirituality among Hispanics in the United States revolves around practices such as burning of incense, casting away evil spirits, and ceremonies performed to appease the evil spirits. Although a number of Hispanics are Catholics and Protestants, majority still hold onto their indigenous beliefs and practices. Significantly, many Hispanics believe that evil spirits exist and can posses a person. Paloutzian and Park (2013) assert that due to the belief, Hispanic communities undertake various practices meant to protect them from the ‘Evil Eye’ and other incidents associated with evil spirits. Death rituals among Hispanic communities comprise last prayers, a wake, and a funeral. A religious leader conducts last prayers at the deathbed of a dying Hispanic member and afterwards, procedures related to a wake commences. The wake is usually a ritual that brings people together to mourn and grieve with the affected family. Thereafter, the families and close friends accompany the body to the cemetery where a burial takes place.
Paloutzian, R., & Park, C. (2013). Handbook of the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. New York: Guilford Press.
Stevens, G., & Shi, L. (2013). Vulnerable Populations in the United States. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
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Verdugo, R. (2012). The Demography of the Hispanic Population: Selected Essays. Charlotte: Information Age Pub.