Good food, good music, and good conversation – three key ingredients to many Hispanic/Latino family gatherings. But what is missing from many of those get-togethers is a life-saving conversation about the family’s medical history. This Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), the American Diabetes Association is encouraging people to discuss any family history of diabetes, a conversation that could help stop diabetes before it starts.
Type 2 diabetes disproportionately affects Hispanics/Latinos. In fact, the rates of type 2 diabetes are almost double that of non-Hispanic whites. More than 10% of Hispanics/Latinos in the United States have been diagnosed with diabetes.
“It is particularly important for Hispanics/Latinos to know they are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes,” said Lorena Drago, RD, CDE, American Diabetes Association volunteer. “It is common for families to have multiple members with diabetes, but they never talk about it. These family discussions are necessary so everyone knows their risk, especially the younger generations.”
If current trends continue, 1 in 2 minorities born today will develop diabetes. Oftentimes type 2 diabetes is not diagnosed until one or more of its complications have begun to develop, including blindness, nerve damage or heart disease. Hispanics/Latinos are at higher risk for developing these complications.
The good news is type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with healthy eating and exercising. “By exercising 150 minutes a week, such as 30 minutes 5 days a week, and losing 5 %-10% of your body weight, you could reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%,” said Drago. “By making changes gradually, instead of all at once, you can stop type 2 diabetes from developing or stop diabetes complications from occurring.”
The American Diabetes Association offers various family-friendly resources to help people successfully make lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes or diabetes complications.
• MyFoodAdvisor™ – Available in English and Spanish at www.diabetes.org/myfoodadvisor, this award-winning online tool provides nutrition information for people with diabetes, those at risk, and anyone who wants to lose weight. Users can track what they eat, find healthier alternatives and search recipes. The comprehensive database includes many culturally appropriate foods for Hispanics/Latinos.
“MyFoodAdvisor can help you explore different types of foods. For example, eating one extra serving of fruits or vegetables a day is a small change you can make to get you and your family started towards a healthier meal plan,” commented Drago.
• Feria de Salud Por Tu Familia– Feria is the Association’s outdoor community event which captures the festive elements of a street fair but maintains the important aspects of choosing and managing a healthier lifestyle for the entire Hispanic/Latino family. This family event includes music, dancing, nutritional information, cooking demonstrations and a variety of product and service booths. Visit www.diabetes.org/feria for event listings in your area.
“Feria can arm you with information to help stop diabetes and its complications in its tracks. The event provides you and your family with creative ways to become active, new ideas for healthy recipes, and greater awareness of what resources are available in the community,” said Drago.
• Stop Diabetes® – People from around the country are joining the Association’s movement to Stop Diabetes once and for all. By visiting www.stopdiabetes.com, calling 800-DIABETES, or texting* JOIN to 69866, you can find out how to become involved in the movement. There are opportunities for every member of the family to share, act, learn and give and help stop diabetes.
“Whether you want to join the Stop Diabetes movement for yourself or a loved one, it is important that we stand up together against this disease and say the status quo is no longer acceptable. Too many people and their loved ones have suffered from diabetes’ terrible toll. Joining the movement is the first step to say enough is enough,” commented Drago.
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The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to stop diabetes and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit www.diabetes.org. Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.
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