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  • Writer's pictureTyzza Macias

Over One-Third of Americans Face Elevated Type 2 Diabetes Risk, Yet There's Hope

In the vibrant tapestry of American culture, the battle against prediabetes and type 2 diabetes weaves a complex and compelling narrative that transcends the boundaries of heritage and ethnicity. In this diverse nation, where cultures converge and intertwine, a stark reality unfolds: the risk of these debilitating health conditions varies dramatically along racial and ethnic lines. African American, Hispanic Latinx, and Asian American individuals, each carrying their unique cultural heritage, find themselves united by a common struggle, a struggle with a heightened susceptibility to diabetes that surpasses that of their non-Hispanic Caucasian counterparts.

Among these communities, however, one group stands out, facing an especially pronounced risk – the Hispanic Latinx population. It's a stark reality that beckons us to probe deeper into the underlying reasons behind this disparity, to seek answers, and to embark on a journey toward effective prevention and management of this insidious disease. In this article, we embark on that journey, shedding light on the intricacies of diabetes's unequal burden and charting a course toward a healthier, more equitable future.

The Alarming Diabetes Epidemic

Prediabetes, a precursor to type 2 diabetes, is a silent menace that has crept into the lives of millions of Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Ad Council have joined forces to address this growing concern. Astonishingly, more than one in three adults, roughly 98 million Americans, are living with prediabetes, with a staggering 81% unaware of their condition.

To combat this crisis, the "Do I Have Prediabetes?" initiative has launched a new campaign titled "Be Your Hero." The campaign aims to empower individuals to assess their prediabetes risk through a quick and easy online test, ultimately enabling them to take proactive steps toward preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes.

The elevated risk of diabetes within Hispanic Latinx populations can be attributed to a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and socioeconomic factors. Genetic predisposition plays a role, as certain genetic markers make individuals more susceptible to the disease. Additionally, a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes is obesity and Hispanic Latinx communities often have higher obesity rates, closely linked to dietary patterns and lifestyle choices. Socioeconomic factors also come into play, with lower income levels and reduced access to healthcare limiting the resources available for managing and preventing diabetes.

Furthermore, cultural factors play a significant role, as traditional diets in these communities are often rich in carbohydrates and sugars, contributing to the development of diabetes. Understanding this multifaceted landscape of influences is crucial in crafting effective strategies for diabetes prevention and management within Hispanic Latinx populations.

The "Be Your Hero" campaign emphasizes the power of early detection and proactive lifestyle changes. Prediabetes is a serious condition that can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and full-blown diabetes if left unaddressed. However, a diagnosis of prediabetes can also be an opportunity for positive change.

Effective diabetes prevention and management strategies within Hispanic or Latino populations can be bolstered by adopting a multifaceted approach. First and foremost, dietary modifications play a pivotal role. Shifting towards a balanced diet that includes an abundance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help regulate blood sugar levels, mitigating the risk of diabetes.

Physical activity is another crucial component, with at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week serving as a potent defense against the disease. Additionally, weight management is key, as achieving and maintaining a healthy weight significantly reduces the risk of diabetes. Finally, regular healthcare check-ups and diligent blood sugar monitoring are essential for tracking progress and making necessary adjustments, ensuring a proactive and informed approach to diabetes prevention and management within the Hispanic Latinx communities.

The "Be Your Hero" campaign inspires individuals to take control of their health destiny. It reminds us that life can be unpredictable, but when it comes to diabetes, we have the power to change the narrative. By taking the prediabetes risk test, individuals can gain insights into their health status and take decisive steps to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.

The campaign's chief development officer at the Ad Council, Heidi Arthur, aptly notes, "This action-packed and engaging new work illustrates the power that each of us has to take control of our fate – in this case, by taking action to reduce our risk of type 2 diabetes."

The "Be Your Hero" PSAs will be featured nationwide across various media platforms, including broadcast, print, radio, digital banners, and social media, in both English and Spanish. This extensive reach aims to raise awareness and encourage individuals from all walks of life to take control of their health.

The battle against prediabetes and type 2 diabetes is a multifaceted one that requires collective efforts. The CDC is collaborating with partners to amplify the campaign across communities and inform healthcare providers about the screening, diagnosis, and treatment process.

The National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, announced by the Biden-Harris administration, underscores the importance of reducing diet-related diseases like type 2 diabetes. This initiative calls upon organizations throughout the United States to join forces and address this pressing issue.

To assess your own risk for prediabetes and take charge of your health, visit Remember, knowledge is power, and by taking the first step, you can become your own hero in the fight against diabetes.


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