When we travel to cities and communities large and small, we see first-hand the direct link between a healthy environment and healthy lives, especially for our country’s children. But as we observe Hispanic Heritage Month, it’s worth remembering that too many of our children, especially in minority communities, live in unhealthy environments that lead to unhealthy lives.
Scientific studies show that minority children who live, learn, and play in low-income communities are at a greater risk of environmental health problems such as asthma, lead poisoning, pesticides exposure, among others.
In 2009, approximately 70 percent of Hispanic children lived where air quality standards were subpar, contributing to higher incidences of asthma and other respiratory diseases. In fact, Puerto Rican American children have among the highest levels of reported current asthma as compared to all other racial and ethnicity groups. In the United States, nearly 1 in 10 school-aged children live with asthma every day, those most affected live in lower-income communities of color.
These health disparities are more than just hospital visits and more medicine. They also mean more missed school days, and a higher incidence of obesity due to less exercise.