How many hispanics in the community?
Excerpt of blog post submitted to AADE.
Diabetes is an urgent health problem in the Hispanic community, disproportionately affected by this chronic disease compared to other U.S. populations. Genetics and environmental factors play a role but, health disparities in early access to screening, diabetes prevention and healthy lifestyle intervention add fuel to the fire. Increased diabetes research in the Hispanic community, culturally relevant information on diabetes risk factors, symptoms, treatments and education can help improve the disproportionate burden of diabetes in minority populations and promote health equity.
Data from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) shows that approximately 17% of Hispanics in the U.S. have diabetes. In comparison, the prevalence of diabetes in non-Hispanic whites is approximately 8%. Hispanics have higher rates of end-stage renal disease, caused by diabetes, diabetic retinopathy is 84% more prevalent in Hispanics than non-Hispanic whites, and they are 40% more likely to die from diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. Diabetes was the fifth major cause of death for Hispanics in 2006, compared to the seventh leading cause for non-Hispanic whites. These statistics might explain why Hispanics consider diabetes their main health concern, above cancer and other chronic conditions.
It’s very important to know and understand that there is diversity among Hispanics and we all are not equal. The differences in diabetes prevalence among Hispanics subgroups are masked when we are all combined into a homogeneous group. Data from the HCHS/SOL shows that 10.7% of South Americans, 14% of Cuban Americans, 17.8 % of Central Americans, 19.2% of Puerto Ricans, 18.4% of Dominicans, and 18.9% of Mexican have type 2 diabetes and the prevalence keeps growing.
The diversity among Hispanics is not only in diabetes prevalence. Even though a person is considered Hispanic, not all Hispanics eat the same kind of food and have the same culture. Hispanics are diverse, with a vast variety of food, traditions, beliefs, and even words, although we all speak Spanish. To better serve the Hispanic community, I would love to see diabetes educators asking the right questions, learning more about their diabetes patients and do not assume that Hispanics are all the same.