Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Chicana and Chicano StudiesLatino Health Issues

Diabetes and Latino Youth

What is Diabetes?

"Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life" (ADA Website) Yet, the cause of Diabetes remains a mystery.

By the Numbers:

o In 1998, of the 30 million Latinos in the United States, around 1.2 million were diagnosed with diabetes.
o In 1997, of the 500,000 Latinos in California who had diabetes, the majority were of Mexican origin.
o In about 1/3 of Latinos with diabetes, the disease is undiagnosed.3
o The prevalence of diabetes in Mexican Americans is 1.8 times higher than in non-Latino whites.
o More than 10% of all Mexican Americans 20 years or older have diabetes.
o One of every four Mexican Americans age 45 or older has diabetes.
o Both in California and nationwide, diabetes is the 5th leading cause of death among Latinos , and the 4th leading cause of death among Latina women and the Latino elderly.

(Statistics from California Mexican Health Initiative)

What Does All This Mean?

To put this in a simple manner, the numbers are growing and as parents we need to identify behaviors within our own daily lives that may contribute to the onset of diabetes in our youth.

What is Being Done?

Beginning in 2002, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began collecting data through a program named SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth. The study is being conducted in several centers across the nation in an effort to find out more about Diabetes, how it is caused, and to also create new methods of prevention.

Although this is the most current information about such studies, groups like the California Mexican Health Initiative and also the National Latino Health Initiative are also creating websites full of information in both English and Spanish to help educate parents as well as children.

For more information on this and other programs, please follow the links to your right.

Links to Site with More Information

American Diabetes Association
This site contains information regarding Diabetes as well as ideas for prevention. Included in the site are statistics, prevention, and education for all.

Mexican-Origin and Diabetes Fact Sheet
This site contains general facts with regard to the Hispanic population and Diabetes. This research was compiled by the California Mexican Health Initiative at the University of California, Berkeley. 

SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth
This site offers a layout of the current program in place, which is run by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a multi-center study being done to better understand the causes of diabetes and also to seek new ways of prevention. 

National Latino Health Initiative
This site  contains information about programs available as well as the latest information regarding prevention and education of diseases affecting Hispanics. Also included within this site is the National Latino Diabetes Initiative , which is specifically listed for efforts to educate about Diabetes.

Young Hispanic Student looking working at computer.



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