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UCI researchers examine political participation and health issues facing Hispanics in coming decades

Irvine, Calif. -- A sweeping report on the future of Hispanics in America, ranging from education and economics to health care and political influence, will be issued Wednesday in Washington, D.C., by the National Academies' National Research Council.

That report includes a frank analysis and projection of the health status and political influence of Hispanics in America over the next 20 years by UCI researchers Louis DeSipio and Rubn G. Rumbaut. DeSipio and Rumbaut were part of the 11-member panel convened to study the issues facing Hispanics and create the comprehensive report, which is intended to inform future public policy discussions.

In the report, Rumbaut co-authors an analysis of the health status of Hispanics in America. The analysis finds that, although Hispanic immigrants tend to be healthier than the average American, over time and across generations spent in the U.S., rates of obesity, hypertension and diabetes rise among Hispanics. The problem, particularly among young Hispanics, suggests the future could hold increased risks of cardiovascular disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and other complications. "By the second generation, assimilation leads to a rapid language shift to English and to educational and occupational attainments, but there is another side to the picture: Americanization can be hazardous for your health," said Rumbaut, professor of sociology. "There is an obvious need for society to invest not only in the economic but in the physical well-being of its citizens."

Time also will impact Hispanics' political influence, but perhaps at a slower rate than many hope, according to DeSipio, who authored a chapter of the report on political participation. "Politically, the Hispanic population is not the sleeping giant that many believe," said DeSipio, associate professor of political science and Chicano/Latino studies.

As a group, fewer than half of U.S. citizen Hispanics vote in elections and no more th
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Contact: Christine Byrd
cbyrd@uci.edu
949-824-9055
University of California - Irvine
1-Mar-2006


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