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National Minority Health Awareness Month: A Time for Action to prevent or manage diabetes

By Judi Bonilla

Earlier this year NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard School of Public Health released a poll that found Latinos see diabetes as the biggest health problem for their own families.

It was about the familia that caught researchers’ eyes. In previous polls, Latinos reported cancer was their primary health concern. However, when it came to our familias we looked into the eyes of our family and face of diabetes looked back at us.

Why do Latinos have a high incidence of diabetes?

The CDC reports researchers think Latinos inherit a “thrifty gene” which helped our ancestors store food energy better to survive “feast or famine” situations. Fast-forward to the 21st century and this thrifty gene may now put us in danger of type 2 diabetes.

We inherited our ancestral genes, now our future will be built on our choices. With heightened awareness and knowledge that Latinos have a higher rate of diabetes we have the ability to make change. We possess the opportunity to shape our lives and those of future familias.

Top three tips for Latinos and familas to prevent diabetes:

1. Baile

Move and get your familia moving. Familia includes those you are related to and those you love and are loved by. Dancing is one of the best forms of exercise to get you moving at your own pace. If you’re shy, put on some music and get moving around your home. The idea is to get moving. If you’re having a family gathering make sure to create a family playlist that gets everyone moving.

Comer bien
Enjoy your meals knowing you’re making the best choices. Think “Brown Power” and choose whole grains and whole grain products. Choose water with mint or lemon. Skip juices and sugary drinks. We know the importance of verduras so let’s use them to fuel our bodies to better health. Improving our nutritional choices one meal at a time is the way to successful changes over a lifetime.

See Your Health Care Provider
Take care of your health by making sure to see your doctor on an annual basis. Regular visits are the best way to maintain good health and manage any chronic conditions.

Latinos recognize the effect of diabetes, let’s take the step by owning it, so we can move forward by making change for a healthier lifestyle.

Get moving, eat well and your health will look after you.

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