A race is a group of people that identify themselves as having a similar background, culture, and geographical origin. Genetics refers to the study of the genes that we possess, which often lead to visible traits or illnesses. Health is a broad term that represents a state of “well-being” in terms of physicality, mentality, and social integration. Unfortunately these terms have been used to further the agendas of powerful people in the past. For example, although genes cannot be used to identify a specific race and health is not specifically limited to the function of genes, eugenics, or the practice of improving the human population through selective breeding, was used by both the Nazis and the United States to try to remove groups of people who were deemed too poor, promiscuous, or too Jewish from their populations. There was also a misappropriation of research done to prove that the brains of African-Americans was smaller than that of Caucasians (craniometry), and thus “proved” that Caucasians were the more advanced race. We now know that there are no biologically discrete races and that many, many factors like education, wealth, and one’s environment all lead to large differences between races.
Obesity is very prevalent among Hispanics, especially the young. Some of the factors that contribute to overweight Hispanic youth are a lack of access to supermarkets with fresh fruit and vegetables, a culture that enjoys watching more television than just about any other culture, and a lack of community infrastructure and safety around extra-curricular physical activities (“Overweight and Obesity.”). Although there may be some genetic determinants for seeing this illness so often among Hispanics, it is more likely that social constructs are more responsible. This is especially evident as Hispanic children born in the United States have been found to be twice as likely to become obese than those born outside of the United States (“Overweight and Obesity.”).
Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living Blog, The. http://msdcenter.blogspot.com/2012/01/child-obesity-rates-still-high-but-not.html/.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Overweight and Obesity Among Latino Youths.” Accessed July 10, 2014. http://www.rwjf.org/content/dam/web-assets/2010/05/overweight-and-obesity-among-latino-youths.