Things That Matter

Food, Culture, And Physical Activities Are All Factors In Latinos Being Most Likely To Develop Diabetes

There’s no denying that Mexican food revolves around masa. We use the corn dough for tortillas, tamales, gorditas, tostadas, chips, tacos, we can go on and on. The masa isn’t low-calorie food. It’s a high-carb, and we eat a lot of it. Have you ever had just one tortilla for one meal? We didn’t think so. We also eat a lot of beans, and beans — while good protein — are sometimes made it lard, straight up fat. We say all of this because Mexican food could become one of the most unhealthy habits if not consumed responsibly. A new study shows how much Latinos are affected by it. 

Latinos are poised to get type 2 diabetes more than any other group. 

Credit: @HHS_HealthReg2 / Twitter

A couple of studies point to the same result: the chances of Latinos getting diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are higher than any other group. The studies show that the fault falls on our genetics and also our lifestyle. 

“There are some genetic factors,” Dr. Rayesh K. Garg said in an interview with the Miami-Herald, “but there are also many lifestyle factors. Diet, high fat, high-carb, plays a big role.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Latinos are at higher risk because of: 

  • Genetics: Hispanics/Latinos have genes that increase their chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is very complicated, though, and the connection isn’t completely clear.
  • Food: In some Hispanic/Latino cultures, meals can be high in fat and calories. Also, family celebrations may involve social pressure to overeat, and turning down food could be seen as impolite.
  • Weight/activity: Hispanics/Latinos have higher rates of obesity and tend to be less physically active than non-Hispanic whites. And some see overweight as a sign of health instead of as a health problem.

Studies also show that type 2 diabetes is also affecting a younger generation of Latinos. 

Credit: @ElComunicadorDC / Twitter

The incidence of obesity and sedentary lifestyle is taking its toll,” Dr. Garg said. Which means younger people are being less active. They are consuming and not doing any physical activity. 

The CDC study states that people of color, including Black, Latino, and Asian, are at risk of getting diabetes, but for Latinos, it’s still much higher. The report shows that Latinos will likely have type 2 diabetes at 17 percent higher than non-Hispanic whites, which is at 8 percent. 

Another study shows that 71 percent of Latinas and 80 percent of Latinos have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) conducted a study among 16,000 adult Latinos in four different communities

“The HCHS/SOL study found a comparable or higher burden of cardiovascular disease risk among all major U.S. Hispanic and Latino groups, compared to non-Hispanic whites living in the United States. Additionally, study data showed considerable differences among Hispanics of various backgrounds. It has been shown that 71 percent of Hispanic and Latina women and 80 percent of Hispanic and Latino men have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.”

Here’s what Latinos can do to stay in better health and prevent diabetes.

Credit: @DrDiazRios / Twitter

It’s pretty common sense that we should eat everything in moderation, and that we should do at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Dr. Garg also suggests phasing out of carbs. He said it sounds like a radical change, but it doesn’t have to be. 

“You don’t have to completely abandon your lifestyle,” Garg says. “You can live a normal life if you have diabetes or prediabetes. But you do have to make changes.”

The CDC also suggests that Latinos have to change their way of thinking when it comes to doctors, health, and nutrition. 

“You may put the needs of your family before your own health needs. You may want to use natural or traditional medicines instead of standard diabetes treatments. You may also have heard that taking insulin will cause diabetes complications (this isn’t true).” 

 Latinos love family gatherings, and those moments are usually shared with meals. The CDC suggests that by incorporating change within the family, a healthy lifestyle could benefit everyone. 

“When a family member has to change what he or she eats to manage diabetes, it affects the whole family. This can be an opportunity for everyone to make healthy changes, which is especially important for kids. Hispanic/Latino children and teens are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes, too, and learning healthy eating habits early gives them the best chance to prevent it.”

READ: These Substitutes Make Our Favorite Latino Foods Healthy, Delicious, Satisfying, And Good For You

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

What I Wish My Family Knew About How Their Vote For Trump Impacts My Life

Culture

What I Wish My Family Knew About How Their Vote For Trump Impacts My Life

fidmart85 / cantstayput / Instagram

Politics is a tricky topic for families and friends, especially when you are on opposite sides of the aisle. It’s hard not to take things personally when it comes to how those closest to you vote. Those feelings have been heightened since 2016 when President Donald Trump won on a campaign based on fear and hate. His rhetoric has never changed and his words and policies are having a real impact on the lives of millions, including me and my husband.

My family is a Cuban family living in Florida. They fit the description in more ways than one. They are a close-knit unit always visiting each other and having mini family reunions for every occasion. Covid changed that for a while but over time they have safely created a bubble with themselves. I am one of three in my immediately-extended family to leave Florida so they don’t see my life on a daily basis. I can only imagine that living in Florida would change that.

With the 2020 elections in just days, I have had some hard conversations with my family about things they’ve never understood or asked about. As a gay Latino man living in the U.S., my life hasn’t always been easy and safe. I grew up in a rural town in the Florida panhandle where it was not okay to be visibly and audibly Latino nor gay.

I was 16 when I had my first run-in with violent homophobia. I was at a keg party and I was pouring a beverage. A college student came up to me and asked if I was gay. Knowing the importance of self-preservation, I immediately said no. Without missing a beat, the man sucker-punched me in the face, called me a faggot, and ran to a waiting car that sped off.

My parents never heard that story. I lied to them when they noticed the welt on my face and told them I got elbowed at cheerleading practice. I know. I was a cheerleader and my parents couldn’t see I was gay. It was safer for me to lie and not let my parents know I was targeted for being gay, something they were in no place to accept are Cuban immigrants living in a rural, conservative southern town.

That moment instilled in me a fear that I live with to this day. No matter where I am or what I am doing, I always function at the level that I can be attacked at any time for being gay. President Trump’s rhetoric and administration has made that worse.

During President Barack Obama’s administration, I felt safe for the first time in a long time. I know that comes with some privilege, but it was the first time in in my gay life that I felt safe to be who I was. I came out to my parents. I became involved in politics to get people elected. I traveled as an openly gay man. I was no longer living in the shadows.

The 2016 elections shattered the feeling of safety and peace for me and my friends. Suddenly, all of us were on the chopping block as our rights and dignity were under attack again. The Pulse Nightclub shooting in June 2016 reminded me of how much hate there still was for people like me and the Trump campaign was fanning those flames. I was scared. My family didn’t understand why.

Most of my family voted for President Trump that year. It was a knife through the heart to know that most of my family was not concerned about my own safety and dignity. For them, President Trump’s election was more important than the very real threat he posed to millions of people.

I remember confiding in my family my fear that President Trump would try to eliminate marriage equality, won just one year before. I was made to feel like I was being dramatic. My husband and I got married the Friday after Thanksgiving because we just did not trust what the administration would do.

Four years later, Supreme Court justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito signaled that they want to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that made my marriage legal. How? With the help of Amy Coney Barrett, who was rushed in with just days left till election day. Marriage equality became law of the land in a 5-4 ruling.

This blow to the LGBTQ+ community comes after the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that LGBTQ+ people cannot be fired for being LGBTQ+. The ruling in June stated that LGBTQ+ were included in the Civil Rights Act under protection from discrimination based on sex.

The lawsuit brought to the Supreme Court to make discrimination against me legal was drafted by the Trump administration. The man my family voted for wanted to make me less than everyone else.

One of the first cases before the majority conservative court that could erode LGBTQ+ rights is Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. The case, which will be heard the day after the election, will decide if private agencies that receive government dollars can refuse people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, and even religion. How is this happening in the U.S. in 2020?

I am also a recently diagnosed diabetic. The Trump administration has been a hostile enemy of the Affordable Care Act since day one. The ACA, also known as Obamacare, has become increasingly popular with Americans, especially now during the pandemic.

Another case being heard on behalf of the Trump administration is a case to dismantle the ACA once and for all. This would throw millions of people off of their healthcare and would leave millions more with pre-existing conditions without healthcare.

A vote for Trump is a vote to strip people of necessary and life-saving healthcare. We have all read the horror stories of people dying of diabetes because they couldn’t afford their insulin. The Trump administration wants us to go back to those days. The court case could force numerous people to die from treatable and manageable diseases for the sake of profit over lives.

Republicans have no plan to replace the ACA. However, they have continued to lie to the American people and claim that they do.

There are several communities under attack right now. Black lives are at stake. Abortion rights are at stake. Healthcare is at stake. Immigrant rights are at stake. Trans lives are at stake. LGBTQ+ rights are at stake. Our standing in the world is at stake. The soul of our nation is at stake.

Under this current administration, I have seen my friends live in fear that they will lose rights. I have watched friends grapple with the understanding that they have lost rights.

My family claims to care for me, and I am sure that on some level they really believe that. However, as a gay Latino man living in the Trump administration, I have grown resentful. I resent that their votes are costing me and my friends their human dignity. I resent that their vote exacerbated the ongoing pandemic that has cost more lives than it should have. I resent that they ask why I don’t visit despite voting to limit my rights and freedom.

To my family members who have voted against this administration, thank you. Thank you for standing by my side. Thank you for understanding what is at stake for me and my marriage. Thank you for rebuking an administration that has caused unnecessary harm to millions of innocent people.

It is not too late to have your voice heard. Go vote. Millions of us are relying on you using your voice to determine the future of this nation.

READ: Remembering The Victims Of The Orlando Shooting, Many Of Whom Were Latino

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

New CDC Report Tracks Activity Levels Of Adults And Puerto Ricans Are The Second Most Sedentary

Culture

New CDC Report Tracks Activity Levels Of Adults And Puerto Ricans Are The Second Most Sedentary

Jonathan Borba / Unsplash

A new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report reveals that nearly half of Puerto Ricans get no exercise beyond walking to and from their cars and around the house. That’s more than three times the national average. The study concluded that the most significant factor in differences in the prevalence of physical inactivity was when controlled by race or ethnicity. Latinos were found to be the most sedentary (31.7 percent), marginally followed by non-Hispanic blacks (30.3 percent) with non-Hispanic whites having the lowest rate of physical inactivity at 23.4 percent. Respondents were classified as physically inactive if they responded “no” to the following question: “During the past month, other than your regular job, did you participate in any physical activities or exercises such as running, calisthenics, golf, gardening, or walking for exercise?” Every single state or territory found that more than 15 percent of adults were physically inactive.

The lack of physical activity leads to health problems that cost Americans $117 billion annually. The CDC is cautioning Americans, especially Americans of color, that a sedentary lifestyle contributes to 1 in 10 early deaths.

It’s unclear why Latinos and Black Americans are so singularly sedentary.

CREDIT: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL

Some think that the cause is regional in nature. Americans concentrated in cities and urban areas are more likely to get exercise simply because of the proximity to exercise facilities and pedestrian commutes. The map above illustrates the inactivity levels of each state and territory for every American of every race and ethnicity. The South is significantly more sedentary than the North and the West regardless of one’s race or ethnicity. 

That said, when you look at the same states and factor for Latinidad, the statistics significantly worsen.

CREDIT: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL

When race or ethnicity isn’t a factor, Oregon appears as one of the most active states in the country. When you look only at the Latinos living in Oregon, it becomes one of the worst in the country. That means that non-Hispanic white people either have more access to those gym memberships or faraway hiking trails or incorporate it into their culture more than Latinos living in the same area. 

It’s easy to assume the socio-economic factors at play here — that minorities are so disenfranchised that they simply don’t have the time or energy to exercise after their long or labor-intensive workdays. Latinas have the highest lifetime risk for diabetes across all demographic groups, according to non-profit Salud America! A small research study at the Fair Haven Community Health Center found that fear of injury and lack of energy were the most common barriers for Latina women. This is when the cultural trope of Latina moms being afraid for you to go too close to the freezer or you’ll catch pneumonia becomes pathological.

According to the CDC, Hispanic adults are 50 percent more likely to suffer from diabetes and liver diseases than non-Hispanic white adults. Inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle have been linked to diabetes meaning that the map of inactivity is bad news for Hispanics. A more sedentary lifestyle has a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes and worsening the effects if someone already has the disease.

Meanwhile, when you look at just non-Hispanic white Americans, the map brightens up just as significantly.

CREDIT: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL

“Too many adults are inactive, and they may not know how much it affects their health,” said Ruth Petersen, MD, Director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. “Being physically active helps you sleep better, feel better and reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers,” she added in a media statement. The CDC has found that engaging in such physical activity could prevent 1 in 8 cases of breast cancer and colorectal cancer. 

The CDC is working to get more Americans to engage in physical activity for 25 minutes a day by 2027. In order to do this, the Surgeon General has called on cities to consider walkability as part of their city planning process. “Individuals and families are encouraged to build physical activity into their day by going for a brisk walk or a hike, walking the dog, choosing the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, parking further away in the parking lot, walking or cycling to run errands, and getting off the bus one stop early and walking the rest of the way,” the federal agency said in a statement.

The study’s data came from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), an ongoing state-based, telephone interview survey conducted by CDC and state health departments. The maps used combined data from 2015 through 2018.

READ: Food, Culture, And Physical Activities Are All Factors In Latinos Being Most Likely To Develop Diabetes

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com