Enrollment completed for largest nationwide health study of Hispanic community

August 24, 2011


The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL), which is collecting health data on Hispanics living in the United States, has completed enrollment. Approximately 16,000 participants completed baseline clinical exams in four field centers located in the Bronx (N.Y.), Chicago, Miami and San Diego.

Dr. Lisa LaVange

Dr. Lisa LaVange

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Collaborative Studies Coordinating Center (CSCC), based in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s biostatistics department, is coordinating the national study. Lisa LaVange, PhD, Professor of the Practice of biostatistics at the School, is CSCC director.

The research assesses the prevalence of health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, asthma, sleep disorders and chronic pulmonary conditions. In addition, it will address nutritional practices and the role of acculturation on lifestyle and health.
HCHS/SOL was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and six other institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in October 2006 and began recruitment in March 2008.
Participants were selected randomly and represent Central and South Americans, Cubans, Dominicans, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans residing in the field center communities.
Reaching the target enrollment on schedule is a significant milestone for the largest study conducted to date of the fastest-growing minority population in the U.S. Preliminary data from the first two-thirds of the cohort were presented at several scientific meetings this spring and summer and included prevalence estimates of a variety of risk factors and diseases.
Publications based on data from the full cohort are expected later this year. The first presentation of data from this study was made in June at the American Diabetes Association meeting in San Diego. Initial data show that 17 percent of the participants have diabetes. The prevalence ranges from 12 percent of Cuban participants to 19 percent of Puerto Rican and Dominican participants, even though both groups have similar body mass index (BMI) results.
A broad population study such as this one gives researchers around the country data to explore many issues related to health and culture. This type of tool has been used many times with the general population, and often follows people over a number of years, LaVange says.
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UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, director of communications, (919) 966-7467 or ramona_dubose@unc.edu.