Living Well with Chronic Conditions

Diabetes is top concern for Latino families, poll finds


A recent poll from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reveals that Latino families see diabetes as their biggest health concern.

The poll questioned this population about their views on healthcare, communities, finances, and discrimination in their lives.

Almost one in five (19 percent) of Latinos said that diabetes is the biggest threat when it comes to their health. This finding was true for both immigrant and non-immigrant Latinos. The next most worrisome disease for Latinos is cancer, the poll found.

"These findings are surprising," study authors Robert J. Blendon, Sc.D., and Richard L. Menschel from Harvard School of Public Health said in a statement. "Previous polls have shown that Latinos see cancer as the most important health problem facing the country. But when asked about their own families, Latinos cite diabetes as the biggest problem."

Higher risks, lifestyle obstacles

Researchers have long stated that Latinos are more at risk to develop diabetes than non-Hispanic whites, and they are 1.5 times more likely to die from the disease. Obesity rates appear to increase among Latino immigrants the longer they live in the country, researchers said, and this may be in part due to lifestyle changes that include more fast food and less exercise.

Yet the poll revealed that most Latino immigrants don't perceive themselves to be less healthy than they were before moving to the U.S. - in fact, 38 percent said they think their diet is healthier in the U.S.

Poor care?

The poll also revealed disturbing statistics about quality of healthcare: About 19 percent of Latinos say that the quality of the healthcare they receive is poor, and more than half (52 percent) aren't confident they would have enough money to shoulder the financial responsibility of a major illness like diabetes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Latino adults are 1.7 times more likely than non-Hispanic whites to have been diagnosed with diabetes.

Source: Science Daily

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