Use of preventive care services among Latino subgroups

Am J Prev Med. 2010 Jun;38(6):610-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2010.01.029.


Background: Previous studies demonstrate a clear gap in access and receipt of preventive care between Latinos and non-Latino whites. Most of this work, however, pools Latinos together when they compare different racial and ethnic groups. There is currently no information about the consistency of preventive care utilization across major Latino subgroups.

Purpose: This study tests for three bundles of preventive care services to analyze the main determinants of adult preventive care receipt among the largest subgroups of U.S. Latinos and non-Latino whites. It also examines the contribution of observed and unobserved factors in explaining differences in the provision of preventive care services.

Methods: The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the National Health Interview Survey from 2000 to 2006 were merged in 2009. The sample consisted of 28,781 Latinos and 78,979 non-Latino whites. This study compared disparities in the receipt of adult preventive care services and separately examined differences in the provision of the most cost-effective preventive services. Multivariate models adjust for confounding factors. The decomposition technique was used to parse out differences into observed and unobserved components.

Results: Latinos of Mexican and Central/South American origin are much less likely to receive guideline-recommended preventive care services than non-Latino whites and other Latino subgroups. Larger disparities were observed for the most cost-effective preventive care services: smoking-cessation advice, colorectal cancer screening, and influenza vaccination. Observed factors accounted for a larger share of disparities across measures (33%-100%), with lack of health insurance coverage and not having a usual source of care as the largest and most consistent factors explaining disparities.

Conclusions: Health insurance coverage expansion and more integration of Latinos into primary care practices can substantially reduce disparities in the receipt of preventive care services. Preventive care initiatives should prioritize the availability of cost-effective services among Latinos of Mexican and Central/South American heritage.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Healthcare Disparities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hispanic or Latino / ethnology
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Influenza Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control
  • Insurance Coverage / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Preventive Health Services / economics
  • Preventive Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Preventive Medicine / organization & administration
  • Smoking Cessation / ethnology
  • Smoking Cessation / methods


  • Influenza Vaccines