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The Impact of COVID-19 on Social Determinants of Health and Research Methods for NAFLD Prevention and Treatment in Mexican-origin Adults

The growing published data and literature of the COVID-19 pandemic suggest that underserved populations have been disproportionately affected when compared to their counterparts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hispanic/Latino adults in the United States accounted for approximately 31.8% of all COVID-19 cases, the highest percentage in comparison to other racial/ethnic minority groups. In addition, Hispanic/Latino adults had the second-highest percentage of COVID-19 deaths among all racial/ethnic minority groups at 17.2%. Of the total Hispanic population residing in the United States, approximately 62.3% is of Mexican-origin descent. This Hispanic subgroup has higher rates of obesity-related diseases such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), type 2 diabetes, and certain forms of cancers. As stated by the CDC, individuals with underlying health conditions like obesity-related diseases are at an increased risk for developing severe symptoms associated to COVID-19, and if not treated in time, may result in death. Given the MO population is at an increased risk for obesity-related disease, there is a need to understand the impact COVID-19 has had on MO adults, a population that is often overlooked and understudied in the United States (U.S.).

The aim of this project is to identify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on social determinants of health in a group of Mexican-origin adults previously recruited for a study focused on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and to determine participants’ preferences for recruitment strategies, health assessment screenings, and intervention strategies to inform future NAFLD research in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This project is funded through the Center for Health Disparities Research within the University of Arizona Health Sciences. 

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