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New Latino Diet Guide Doesn’t Discount Cultural Roots to Eating Healthy

LatinaLista — Among all the crisis that plague the well-being of Latinos, diet, or lack of it, is at the top.

A new nutritional guide scheduled for a national roll-out this month, titled Camino Magico, released this week by the Latino Nutrition Coalition and a company named Oldways presents yet another guide to get Latinos back on a healthy track.

What’s remarkable about this guide is that it doesn’t discount Latino cultural roots when it comes to creating healthy food choices – but builds on them.

(Source: Camino Mágico)

As tiresome as it has become to hear the old stats, they’re worth repeating:

* Obesity rates in US Hispanics doubled between 1991 and 2001, rising from 11.6% to 23.7%. (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion)

* 23% of Hispanic males are obese, while 27.5% of Hispanic females are obese. Rates for non-Hispanic whites are slightly lower, at 22 and 21% respectively. (CDC)

* On average, Hispanic Americans are 1.9 times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites of similar age. (National Diabetes Clearinghouse) 10.4% of men and 11.3% of women in the Hispanic population have diagnosed diabetes, compared to 7.2% of men and 6.3% of women in the general population. (CDC)

* Only 45.0% of Hispanic adults engage in at least some leisure-time physical activity, compared to 49.3% of non-Hispanic blacks and 65.7% of non-Hispanic whites. (CDC)

* Mexican-Americans have the highest age-adjusted rate of Metabolic Syndrome, at 31.9%. This compares to whites at 23.8%, African-Americans at 21.6% and “other” at 20.3%. Metabolic Syndrome is a combination of symptoms (waist size, blood pressure, fasting glucose, etc.) considered a precursor for diabetes and other chronic diseases. (CDC)

(Source: Latino Nutrition Coalition)

What is so unique about this guide in addition to building on centuries of healthy eating habits as first practiced by Indian ancestors is that it is very much a visual guide as well – and practical.

(Source: Camino Mágico)

One of the most disappointing features of any diet plan is how the authors of the plan work in foods that aren’t normally part of our shopping habits. From what we’ve seen, this guide doesn’t do that.

In fact, in an effort to get Latinos to rediscover our “roots” when it comes to eating healthy, the Latino Nutrition Coalition provides a page defining Latino Ingredients, A to Z.

From the list, it’s easy to see that the most basic ingredients have long been a part of our cultural diet. Somewhere along the way, they were forgotten.

As has been drilled in us all – it’s never too late to start getting healthy, but it can be deadly if we don’t do it at all.

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