The Disproportionate Prevalence of Diabetes Among Hispanics

This illustration portrays the statistics of Hispanics who predominantly are diagnosed/are living with Diabetes within the US.

This illustration portrays the statistics of Hispanics who predominantly are diagnosed/are living with Diabetes within the US.

As we all have known for years, race, genetic, and health seem to be indefinitely connected to one another despite what we may or may not want to believe, though this does not meant that one determines the other or all. It remains true that in order to locate a disease or figure out why it spreads and whom it affects, these three factors are key. Race allows for the figuring out of how that particular ethnic group responds to certain treatments, the statistics of how many people within that ethnic group attain the disease or health disparity as well as how many of them seek or are given treatment. Not only this, but race allows you one to see where these individuals are in the world and what about that area could be causing this as well as the levels of genetic drift within that population. Therein, the intertwining relationship between race, genetics, and health offer the ecological approach to health. The Lecture 2 video about Race and Medicine described the “thrifty genotype hypothesis” where different causes contributed to the spread of diabetes among a certain community. Just like within the study shown in the lecture, “Just because you are of Pima ancestry, does not mean that you will develop Type II diabetes.” So many factors play a role in the determination of health, where race, and genetics are concerned as well. You cannot treat someone using only their race, just as you cannot only treat them by looking only at their genetic makeup. You need the combination of all three as well as behavioral, environmental and social factors to truly determine and treat a disease, sickness or illness no matter what it is.

I chose diabetes within Hispanic populations because, as a Hispanic woman, it is the most common disease that I have seen throughout. The statistical representation I chose demonstrates how many Hispanics within the US develop Diabetes and the numbers are quite significant. Determining why it is so prevalent, to me, has a lot to do with the resources available and the environment Hispanics are exposed to depending on where they reside. Living in NY, where wide ranges of nutritional and harmful foods are available all in the same place, allows you to see the decisions individuals will make. For example, I was at the Supermarket the other day and a young Hispanic girl was shopping with her mother. The girl saw a pack of strawberries and really wanted to get them, so she rushed over, picked them up and asked her mother if she could get them. Her mother asked her how much they cost and when the girls said $3.00, the mother told her to put them back. Now, as I was observing, I looked at the cart of food they had and saw that a large container of Breyer’s Vanilla Ice Cream was within the contents of the cart. The ice cream was on sale for the same price as the strawberries. I was held aback, that a mother would choose ice cream over real fruit. No wonder the prevalence of diabetes is higher within younger children. If the parent can’t make a good decision on behalf of her child, then why cry later on when they’re sick. Individual factors, I believe, is one of the main reasons for why Diabetes is so widespread amongst Hispanics and minority groups. It is our inability to make the right decisions for ourselves, and our family that lead us to where we are more often than naught. Though genetics does indeed play a role in some cases, it can no longer be the reason for the unhealthy and unwise decisions of the individuals. Now, I cannot say that this includes all Hispanics. I have met many people within my ethnic group who are nutritionally healthy, with no familial history of disease, who still end up being diagnosed as diabetics.

 

Citations

“APMA Diabetes Survey: 90 Percent of US Hispanics with Diabetes Have Not Visited a Podiatrist for Essential Foot Care | Press Release | Media Room | APMA.” APMA Diabetes Survey: 90 Percent of US Hispanics with Diabetes Have Not Visited a Podiatrist for Essential Foot Care | Press Release | Media Room | APMA. http://www.apma.org/Media/PRdetail.cfm?ItemNumber=4596 (accessed July 10, 2014).

“Graphs, Infographics.”Infographics Graphsnet. http://graphs.net/diabetes-infographics.html (accessed July 10, 2014).

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