May 3, 2012
By Los Angeles Wave Starff
Latino baby boomers are likely to experience health and economic inequities similar to their parents as they enter the ranks of the elderly population, according to a recently published article in a special issue of The Gerontologist.
The research article — authored by Cal State L.A.’s professor of social work Valentine M. Villa and colleagues — represents the first comprehensive analysis of the health of the Latino baby boom population.
The study finds that Latino baby boomers are more likely than their non-Latino white peers to report poorer health across all health indicators, including diabetes, obesity, functional difficulties and self-rated health.
Data was compiled from baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 in a 2007 California Health Interview Survey.
Villa, who is also director of the Applied Gerontology Institute at Cal State L.A., said, “In addition, Latino baby boomers are more likely to have relatively low levels of education and high rates of poverty; challenging the notion that the next generation of elderly will be ‘healthy, wealthy and wise,’ and therefore, not in need of as many aging programs and services.”
The reason for concern regarding the reduction of federal entitlement programs for the elderly is that Latinos will comprise 20 percent of the next generation of older adults, representing the largest minority population aged 65 years and older. As written in the report, the majority of the Latinos are of Mexican-origin.
Villa, an Alhambra resident, was presented a certificate of commendation in 2010 by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for her work with senior citizens in the city of Los Angeles and for her contributions to the State of Aging and Health Among Older Latinos in Los Angeles 2009 report.
Villa’s research examines how public policies affect the health and economic status of the elderly population. Her work has focused on Medicare reform, privatizing Social Security and the impacts of welfare-policy changes on minority and low-income populations.