By Jim Williams

CHICAGO (CBS) — Researchers released the results of one of the biggest studies of its kind on Monday at UIC. The study examined the health of Hispanics in America, including in Chicago.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports it was not always easy getting the results.

Six years ago, there was a knock on the door at Noe Favela’s family home.

Favela’s initial reaction was, “What’s going on? What are you trying to sell me?”

They weren’t salespeople but researchers going door to door in places like Chicago’s Belmont-Cragin neighborhood and three other cities: New York, San Diego and Miami, assessing the health of America’s Hispanic population.

“This is really about understanding populations at risk so we can translate that understanding into better care, better longevity, better lives,” said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck of the Illinois Department of Health.

The study found that nationally, 80 percent of Hispanic men and 71 percent of women had at least one adverse risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In Chicago, one in three participants with diabetes were unaware they had the disease.

Dr. Aida Giachello was a lead investigator.

“We had to send some of them to the emergency room because their sugar level was so high and no one had ever told them,” said Giachello.

Noe Favela and his parents were given a thorough medical exam at Northwestern Hospital.

“Pre-diabetes was identified so we just made changes to our eating habits and diet,” said Favela.

Researchers say they had obstacles as they tried to get participants in the study. Some thought they were being targeted by law enforcement and others thought they might be deported.

Eventually 16,000 people had thorough medical exams. Now public officials believe they’ll have a better strategy for keeping the Hispanic population healthy.

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