Tuesday, March 5, 2024

The Health Risks Behind Full-Figured Latinos


Latinos are highly regarded for being a community that values family and traditional cuisine, but a recent health report suggests that compared to any other ethnic group in the nation, Latinos are more prone to health risks due to an increase in full-figured bodies.

“This is the problem within the [Latino] community,” wrote Elma Dieppa in a blog post honoring her diabetic cousin, Helen Casillas, who died of a heart attack at age 44. “We love our curves, but the line between beautiful and deadly curves is blurred.”

At their core, authentic Latino dishes include fresh fruits, herbs and beans, all of which are healthy, but Latinos are still overall less likely to lose weight. In a 2010 study, researchers surveyed Latina women about their weight and found that about 25% of the overweight Latina women perceived their weight as “normal,” while only 15% of non-Latino white women did.

According to the American Diabetes Association, debilitating diseases like Diabetes, obesity, and strokes disproportionately affect Latinos. Although food and family play an important role in the Latino community, experts have said that immigration and acculturation to the U.S. have affected many eating behaviors within Latino households, particularly with less sitting at the dinner table and preparing fewer home-cooked meals while buying more cheap and convenient fast foods loaded with sodium, fat and sugar.

“Familism is very strong in the Latino culture,” said Manuela McDonough, program manager for the Institute for Hispanic Health at NCLR. “The act of sitting down at the dinner table is more important than the actual food.” NCLR is aiming to implement a healthier shopping program “Comprando Rico y Sano” to help Latinos make healthier and more economical choices.

CNN Latino