Obesity and diabetes in the Latino community: what are the eating habits that increase risk

Obesity and diabetes have become a worrying epidemic in the United States and the worldThey are two of the most degenerative health conditions today and that also derive from other chronic conditions. The truth is that both diseases are directly related to lifestyle and eating habits, in fact more specifically it has been shown that certain racial and ethnic groups are more likely to present these conditions such as African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos.

Hispanics or Latinos in the United States make up a diverse group, which includes people of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South American, Central American, and other Hispanic cultures, and all races. It is undeniable to say that each one has its own history and its own traditions, however it has been proven that all are more likely to have type 2 diabetes (17%) than non-Hispanic whites (8%). It is worth mentioning that of that 17% it is only an average for the groups of Hispanics or Latinos in the United States, since in many cases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes tend to increase and these are closely linked to the person’s history and his life style.

The Latino community that resides in the United States is striking in a peculiar way, especially considering that near the 55% of the US population is obese. On the other hand, it is known that the Hispanic population occupies the second place in the list among the highest rates of obesity in the world: more than 60% of Hispanics are overweight or obeseIn fact of this percentage it is known that more than half are obese, to be precise a little more than 36%. While the national obesity rate continues to rise, studies have found it to be even higher among lower-income Americans, African Americans, Latinos, and rural residents. Today around 47% of Latinos living in the United States are obese, and more than half of women in both ethnic groups are also obese (more than 50%), compared with 38% of white women

The truth is that the rates are high and most worrying, according to specialists they are attributed to a certain concept such as “Food deserts”, in which the only readily available foods are unhealthy and cheap. Also according to some studies, these neighborhoods often lack safe and easily accessible places for physical activity.

Fortunately, making adjustments in the diet is the main measure of prevention and control. Find out what the Most Recurrent Harmful Diet Habits in Latino Communities, which are directly related to the increase in cases of obesity and diabetes.

1. High consumption of ultra-processed foods

Ultra-processed foods are those that have gone through changes or some kind of industrial processing before reaching the table so that we can consume them. Being chemically processed, they tend to be high in sugar, artificial ingredients, flavorings, refined carbohydrates, saturated and trans fats. What happens with ultra-processed foods is that for years their consumption has been standardized, as well as being incredibly accessible and available. In such a way that modern Western society has become accustomed to consuming them excessively, in fact there is data in which it is confirmed that in recent decades the intake of ultra-processed foods has increased dramatically throughout the world. These foods now represent between 25% and 60% of the reliable source of daily energy intake of a person, in much of the world. Its recurrent consumption is one of the main causes of overweight, obesity and diabetes. Therefore, it is essential to avoid all kinds of: frozen or prepared meals, pizza, cakes and industrial pastries, products made with processed cheese, breakfast cereals, cookies and chips, sweets and ice cream, instant noodles and soups, cold cuts, nuggets, fish sticks, sodas and other sugary drinks. it is very important to base the diet on natural and whole foods.

Ultra-processed foods
Ultra-processed foods./Photo: Shutterstock

2. High consumption of fast foods

Fast foods are incredibly accessible and versatile in all kinds of issues, they are found on every corner, and they are usually satiating and economical. Although eating them very occasionally is not related to major problems, the recurrent consumption of this type of food is the key to various chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity and diabetes. There are several negative aspects and consequences, among the main ones is its high caloric intake, low nutritional level, as well as being very rich in sodium and saturated fat. In fact, there is information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which confirms worrying data: 1 in 3 American adults consume fast food more than a given day of the week. And that is where the problems begin, and studies have also found that in many areas where Latino communities live there is a higher proportion of fast food restaurants relative to grocery stores and local produce vendors. These types of situations increase the prevalence of obesity and diabetes, conditions that increase the risk of premature death in these communities.

Fast food
Fast food. / Photo: Pexels

3. Little water, lots of soda

Without a doubt the high consumption of soda in Latino communitiesIt is one of the most worrisome problems and the worst thing is that it is directly related to a very low water intake. It is no secret to say that soft drinks are the deadliest enemy of health and the main reason is their worrying sugar content. They are related to an increase in the development of chronic diseases such as: diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, mental health conditions, depression, hypertension and obesity. Soft drinks are belong to the most worrying and highly addictive group of drinks. They are loaded with added sugars, caramel coloring, and a long list of additives, plus there are many other harmful factors in soda than what is normally listed on nutrition facts labels. In addition, according to according to a recent study published in the journal BMC Public Health, minimum the 20% of the total calories that Latinos consume in a day comes entirely from soft drinks. For added context: For the average person who consumes 2,000 calories a day, that’s roughly 400 calories added to their diet from drinks alone.

Drink soda./Photo: Shutterstock

4. Few fruits and vegetables

Last but not least, quite obviously the high consumption of ultra-processed foods and fast foods, makes the daily diet lack the necessary fruits and vegetables. Which not only causes weight gain and an increased chance of diabetes, it is directly related to other types of health conditions and nutritional deficiencies. It is also important to mention that in many cases the economy of various families in the Latino community is not optimal for access fresh and seasonal food. In many places in the United States, these types of products tend to be high cost and are not always as accessible. Therefore, it is common for Latino diets to be characterized by a high intake of carbohydrates, refined flours, salts and fats, which is derived from a low intake of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.

Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables. / Photo: Pixabay

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