Hispanics and Diabetes

Photo courtesy of Simon Howden
Photo courtesy of Simon Howden


As if it weren’t bad enough that the largest groups of minorities in the United States are statistically more uneducated and lower on the income scale, Blacks and Hispanics in the US are also more likely to have diabetes.

This as you know is a serious combination.  Lack of ease in access to information, less money for meds, and diabetes.  I was just reading about how about one in six Americans is now Hispanic.  Right now, a mind boggling number of those Hispanics are people under age 18.  What is going to happen when they reach adulthood?  I don’t know how all Hispanics live, but considering I’m Hispanic and I married one, I can been an insider.  Although our families eat pretty healthy, I can say that in the community in general there are a lot of sodas, processed flour and large portions involved.  On top of that our genes predispose us rather strongly and this along with lifestyle factors is wreaking havoc.  Hispanics are 50% more likely to die from diabetes than non-Hispanics.  This is unacceptable.

Many of those undiagnosed diabetics might be Hispanic because there are less trips to the doctor.   Fewer doctor visits not only means less chances for diagnosis because if one is diagnosed it also means less time with a doctor reminding one what needs to be done and looking after a patient’s condition.  It means less questions are answered, too.

For many Hispanics there is a language barrier.  Hopefully that large number of young people growing up in the US will minimize this setback. 

I feel for my fellow Hispanics.  I come from educated parents who grew up in well off homes in Venezuela.  I have been here since age one so cultural and linguistic barriers are non-existent for my four younger siblings and I.  And yet because all of our relatives lived a continent away, and because my parents had to learn English, and because we had to start from scratch, I learned the special plight of the immigrant.  There are many factors involved which affect minorities and despite being privileged, I have come to understand some of those factors.  So I know for those minorities who grow up without formally educated parents and without any extra money, health issues tend to fall secondary.

Diabetes is serious.  It’s much more serious when ignored.  The first step is making sure people are getting the info.

I’ve decided I’m going to start translating one post from this blog each week into Spanish and will be linking to the translated version at the bottom of the post which can be read on a different blog.

No worries old friends, this blog will still be written entirely in English!

Below are two great resources for diabetics in Spanish:

NDIC en español


2 thoughts on “Hispanics and Diabetes

  1. tmana

    Thanks for the shout-out re: Hispanics and Diabetes. I’m not Hispanic myself (nor do I understand Spanish) but I live near a neighborhood with a lot of immigrants from all over the West Indies and Latin America (seriously there are food aisles in the supermarket marked “Guatemalan Food”, “Jamaican Food”, and “Goya”), I see what is (and isn’t) available in those local supermarkets, and it’s disturbing. Everything is made with high-fructose corn syrup and trans-fats, there are hardly any whole grains available, and all the cuts of red meat are filled with fat. (That said, the chicken and fish tend to be decent and reasonably-priced.)

    For those with cars and a decent command of English, there are several more-mainstream supermarkets within a three-mile radius of the three major Latin-American/West-Indian/cheap supermarkets as well as a couple of greengrocers, but many don’t advertise which foods and brands of foods are WIC-eligible, and the ads and shelf markings aren’t bilingual, so there is a certain degree of ghettoization. (That said, once one goes more than two blocks over the border into the next town, the immigrant population drops off significantly.)

    Until we can get people comfortably secure with respect to income and food supply, medical care (as well as high-quality foods) will be a lower-priority item for many — particularly those of lower-income.

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