The precarious health of young Mexican American men in South Texas, cameron county hispanic cohort, 2004-2015

Gordon P. Watt, Kristina P. Vatcheva, Derek M. Griffith, Belinda M. Reininger, Laura Beretta, Michael B. Fallon, Joseph B. McCormick, Susan P. Fisher-Hoch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Introduction Hispanic men have higher rates of illness and death from various chronic conditions than do non-Hispanic men. We aimed to characterize the health of Mexican American men living on the US-Mexico border in South Texas and elucidate indications of chronic disease in young men. Methods We sampled all male participants from the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort, an ongoing population-based cohort of Mexican Americans in Brownsville, Texas. We calculated descriptive statistics and stratified the sample into 3 age groups to estimate the prevalence of sociodemographic, behavioral, and clinical factors by age group and evaluated differences between age groups. Results Obesity prevalence was approximately 50% across all age groups (P = .83). Diabetes prevalence was high overall (26.8%), and 16.9% (95% confidence interval [CI], 10.1%-23.8%) of men younger than 35 had diabetes. More than 70% of these young men had elevated liver enzymes, and mean values of aspartate aminotransferase were significantly higher in younger men (45.0 u/L; 95% CI, 39.5-50.6 u/L) than in both older age groups. Less than 20% of young men had any form of health insurance. Current smoking was higher in young men than in men in the other groups, and the rate was higher than the national prevalence of current smoking among Hispanic men. Conclusions We suggest a need for obesity and diabetes prevention programs and smoking cessation programs for men in this region. Opportunities exist to expand current intervention programs and tailor them to better reach this vulnerable population of young Hispanic men. Elevated liver enzymes in men younger than 35 suggest a substantial burden of liver abnormalities, a finding that warrants further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number160020
JournalPreventing Chronic Disease
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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