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Disparities in Routine Physical Examinations among In-School Adolescents of Differing Latino Origins


Sarmiento, Olga L.; Miller, William C.; Ford, Carol A.; Schoenbach, Victor J.; Viadro, Claire Isabel; Adimora, Adaora A.; & Suchindran, Chirayath M. (2004). Disparities in Routine Physical Examinations among In-School Adolescents of Differing Latino Origins. Journal of Adolescent Health, 35(4), 310-320.


PURPOSE: To estimate the prevalence of routine physical examination among in-school adolescents of differing national Latino origins and to assess associations with gender, age, immigrant generational status, language spoken at home, parental education, poverty level, family structure, and insurance status.
METHODS: Cross-sectional analysis of Wave I of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health conducted during 1995. Our sample was limited to adolescents in grades 7 through 12 of Mexican (n = 1657), Cuban (n = 490), Puerto Rican (n = 555), and Central/South American or Dominican (C/S American or DR) (n = 427) origins. We used multivariate logistic regression for survey data to conduct the data analyses.
RESULTS: Mexican-origin adolescents were less likely to report a routine physical examination in the previous year, compared with other Latino populations [prevalence (95% confidence interval)]: Mexicans, 47.7 % (42.0% -53.6%], Cubans 67.6% (57.4%-76.4%), Puerto Ricans 65.2% (58.4%-71.4%), and C/S American or DR (57.0% [47.3-66.2]). Among Mexican-origin adolescents, having a college-educated parent or insurance was associated with receiving care (adjusted prevalence odds ratio [95% confidence interval]), 2.12 (1.37-3.30) and 1.80 (1.31-2.47), respectively. For Cuban-origin adolescents, first-generation immigrants were less likely to receive care (0.31 [0.14-0.70]), and those living in a single-parent home were more likely to receive care (2.83 [1.52-5.25]). Having a routine physical examination among adolescents of C/S American or DR origins was associated with incomes above the poverty level (2.29 [1.10-4.77] and insurance (2.33 [1.10-4.91]).
CONCLUSIONS: Reflecting the heterogeneity of Latino adolescents, the prevalence of routine physical examination and factors associated with it varied by national origin subgroup. These differences should be considered when developing strategies to better address the health needs of Latino youth.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Adolescent Health


Sarmiento, Olga L.
Miller, William C.
Ford, Carol A.
Schoenbach, Victor J.
Viadro, Claire Isabel
Adimora, Adaora A.
Suchindran, Chirayath M.