Heart Health Month and Hispanic Healthcare Marketing

By Univision Communications Archives

It's no surprise that healthcare is a priority for most people. However, for Hispanics it is not only a top priority, it is second only to family. A recent survey by Nielsen of more than 3,100 individuals was commissioned by Univision Communications, Inc. to better understand the Hispanic Healthcare Journey. Some interesting data was uncovered, such as the fact that 45% of Hispanics vs. 26% of non-Hispanics believe they are not in good health. To leverage the Hispanic healthcare market opportunity, it is crucial for marketers to recognize the needs of Hispanics, while understanding their attitudes and behaviors including how they view healthcare and how proactive they are when it comes to managing their health.

In line with February being Heart Health Month, it is valuable also to highlight that cardiovascular disease (CVD) represents the second leading cause of death for Hispanics, after only  cancer.  In 2010 the American Heart Association (AHA) established their goal to reduce deaths from CVD and stroke by 20% and to improve the cardiovascular health (CVH) of all Americans by 20%[i]. Significant progress has been made, but data suggest that more efforts are needed to further reduce the burden of heart disease among Hispanics so that the goal can be met[ii].

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data, Mexican Americans ages 20 and older have a high prevalence (between 30-50%) of high cholesterol and substantially lower rates of high cholesterol screening, awareness, treatment and control rates when compared to non-Hispanics.[iii] Hispanics number approximately 58 million (or 18%) of the total U.S. population. Data from the latest Census report indicate peak levels of healthcare insurance coverage of approximately 83.8% (vs. 93.3% of non-Hispanic) with approximately 51.6% privately insured (vs 73.6% of non-Hispanic), and data from pharmaceutical market reports reflect the important contribution of Hispanics to the prescription segment, which is estimated at approximately $31 billion (9% of total market).[iv]

Path to Treatment

Among self-reported diagnosed cardiovascular conditions, the Nielsen study called attention to the fact that Hispanics (despite having a relatively higher prevalence of CVD risk factors) reflect lower awareness of the key modifiable risk factors, including the role of a healthy diet (55% vs 77% non-Hispanic), overweight/obesity (59% vs 68% non-Hispanic), exercise activity level (35% vs 55% non-Hispanic), high cholesterol (18% vs 22% non-Hispanic) and high blood pressure (22% vs 33% non-Hispanic) but indicated higher rates of having a T2 diabetes diagnosis (23% vs 14% non-Hispanic).

Interestingly, the Nielsen results suggest that Hispanic patients are consistently more proactive than non-Hispanics in seeking health information from television and digital media (52% vs 20% searched for more information after seeing a TV ad) and asked health care providers (27% vs 8%) for their preferred branded treatment. Hispanic consumers engage heavily with information from their family, friends and their primary care physicians. In fact, 39% of Hispanics are more willing to challenge their physician if not prescribed the brand of medication they asked for, as compared to 25% of non-Hispanics.

However, marketers are missing the mark on effective messaging and are challenged to align to Hispanic consumers' buying power and ad consumption. The need to have information available in Spanish to ensure message comprehension cannot be understated.

In the end, education and awareness are key in reaching the Hispanic consumer. There is a greater need to inform and empower the Hispanic community in relation to their health. Outreach through mass media channels is an integral tool in increasing Hispanic awareness and improving health outcomes.

Understanding the Path to Purchase

The Nielsen study also explored Hispanics' emotions, beliefs and attitudes toward OTC products and several illnesses -- including allergies, pain, cough and cold -- and the need for vitamins. Reaching out to these consumers in Spanish not only captures Hispanics' attention but it resonates, as well.  A majority -- 53% of Hispanics -- feels that ads in-language are much easier to understand and 52% have a more favorable opinion of brands that advertise in Spanish. Communicating in Spanish offers brands the opportunity to create a stronger, deeper connection with Hispanic consumers.

Brand loyalty also presents a key opportunity for marketers. Hispanic consumers are extremely loyal when it comes to shopping for their favorite brands and will go out of their way to purchase them. In fact, 60 % will search for a preferred brand at a different store if the product is not available, versus 49% of non-Hispanics.

Marketers should also keep in mind that once Hispanic consumers' loyalty has been earned they will become valuable brand advocates. They are twice as likely to recommend and buy over-the-counter products to share with their friends and family. Further information about the Nielsen/Hispanic Patient Journey study can be found at Univision.net/Hispanichealthcarejourney.


[i]] Disparities in Ideal Cardiovascular Health: A Challenge or an Opportunity? C.J. Rodriguez, Circulation, 2012.

[ii] Blacks, Hispanics Less Likely to Achieve Blood Pressure Control. Argulian. Circulation: Cardiovascular Safety and Outcomes.

[iii] High Cholesterol Awareness and Control Among Hispanic/Latinos: Results from the Hispanic Community Health Study/ Study of Latinos. C.J. Rodruiguez. J. Am. Heart Association, 2015.

[iv] Symphony Health TRx Dollars MAT Ending June 2015- 2016 Based on Adults 18+ with Known Ethnicity.

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