How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

National study finds US Latinos prone to developing Type 2 diabetes

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Initial findings from a major national study of Latino health were released today by the National Institutes of Health. The study explores in detail the health experiences of more than 16,000 Latinos in four U.S. cities, including how certain diseases and risk factors play out differently among distinct national-origin groups. 

Among other things, the study found a high prevalence of pre-diabetes and uncontrolled diabetes in Latinos, and that Latinos are more prone to develop Type 2 diabetes than other ethnic groups. According to the report, about 1 in 3 Latinos had pre-diabetes and among those who already had the disease, only about half had it under control.

These findings played out fairly evenly among all the national-origin groups studied -- those being respondents who self-identified as being of Mexican, Central American, Cuban, Dominican, Puerto Rican, and South American origin. But in other cases, different groups of Latinos experienced illness in different ways, with some suffering from certain conditions more than others. Lifestyle habits also varied. From the report

  • The percentage of people who reported having asthma ranged from 7.4 (among those of Mexican ancestry) to 35.8 (among those of Puerto Rican ancestry).
  • The percentage of individuals with hypertension ranged from 20.3 (South American) to 32.2 (Cuban).
  • The percentage of people eating five or more servings of fruits/vegetables daily ranged from 19.2 (Puerto Rican origin) to 55.0 (Cuban origin). Also, men reported consuming more fruit and vegetables than women.
  • Women reported a much lower consumption of sodium than men among all Hispanic groups represented in the study.

The findings have been published as the Hispanic Community Health Study Data Book: A Report to the Communities. A total of 16,415 Latino adults between the ages of 18 and 74 living in San Diego, Chicago, Miami, and the Bronx, N.Y., were studied, initially between 2008 to 2011.

According to the N.I.H., a new examination period is set to start in October of this year "to reassess certain health measurements and understand the relationship between the identified risk factors during the first visit and future disease in Hispanic populations."

Read the full report


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