What Hispanics Need to Know About Diabetes
The Diabetes-Depression Connection
While diabetes can be a concern for anyone, if you are a Hispanic adult, you should be especially alert. Hispanics are nearly twice as likely to have diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. Also, Hispanic adults with diabetes are more likely to suffer from diabetes complications, including death.
Because of this increased risk, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests special screening for Hispanics. Hispanics who are overweight may need to be screened for diabetes earlier than the general population.
Higher Rates of Diabetes
Overall, Hispanic adults are 1.7 times more likely than non-Hispanic white adults to be diagnosed with diabetes. However, rates differ among different Hispanic groups. Cubans and Central and South American Hispanics have about the same diabetes risk as non-Hispanic white adults. Puerto Ricans are 94% more likely than non-Hispanic whites to be diagnosed. Mexicans have an 87% higher risk of diagnosis.
Currently, a Hispanic woman born in 2000 has an estimated 52.5% risk of developing diabetes in her lifetime. A Hispanic man born in the same year has a 45.4% risk. These numbers are substantially higher than those for nonminority groups. Among non-Hispanic whites, the rates are 31.2% for females and 26.7% for males.
Diabetes in Teens and Older Adults
Type 2 diabetes is rare among teens and adolescents. However, the rates are rising—especially among Hispanics.
Diabetes prevalence increases with age. Among Hispanics, adults ages 65 and older are most likely to have diabetes.
Why Are Hispanics at Greater Risk?
There are many reasons Hispanics are more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes. Limited access to quality health care, genetics, and cultural factors may be at play. For example, research shows that the average Mexican American diet is poor. Specifically, it is high in calories, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. According to the ADA, eating healthy foods is one of the most important steps in preventing type 2 diabetes.
Hispanics are also more likely to be overweight or obese than non-Hispanic white adults. About 32% of Hispanics are obese, compared to 26% of non-Hispanic whites. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Plus, obesity is associated with a greater risk of dying from type 2 diabetes.
Higher Risk for Complications
Hispanics with diabetes are more prone to complications from the disease. They are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, end-stage renal disease, disability, and death from diabetes. Mexican Americans are 50% more likely to die from diabetes compared to non-Hispanic whites. Hispanics with diabetes also have high rates of depression.
Access to quality health care may be part of the issue. Research shows that Hispanics older than age 40 are less likely to have a flu vaccine, foot exam, or retinal eye exam. These are important to prevent complications.
What Can You Do?
Talk with your family about diabetes. A family history of diabetes raises your risk of developing the disease. The ADA recommends that all adults receive their first diabetes screening at age 45. But earlier screening should be considered if you are overweight and obese and have a parent, sibling, or child with diabetes. Hispanics who are overweight or obese should also get earlier screening.
Hispanics are nearly twice as likely to have diabetes as non-Hispanic whites.
Hispanic adults with diabetes are more likely to suffer from complications, including death.
Reasons for this higher risk may include limited access to quality health care, obesity, genetics, and cultural factors such as diet.
- The ADA suggests special diabetes screenings for Hispanics.
Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced
or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use
of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.
- Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2013. Diabetes Care. 2013;36(1):S11-S66.;
- Diabetes Data/Statistics. Office of Minority
Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2013.
- Diabetes and Hispanic Americans. Office of Minority Health, U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, 2013.
and Hispanic Americans. Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services, 2013.
- Do You
Know Some of the Health Risks of Being Overweight? National Institute of
Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of
of Diabetes among Hispanics in Six U.S. Geographic Locations. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013.
Diabetes Fact Sheet, 2011. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
- Gather and
Share Your Family History. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
Eating. American Diabetes Association, 2013.
- Age, Race, Gender, and Family History. American Diabetes Association,
- Eye Complications. American Diabetes Association, 2013.
- Foot Care. American Diabetes Association, 2013.
- Flu and Pneumonia Shots. American Diabetes Association, 2013.
- Lifestyle Factors and Mortality Risk in Individuals with Diabetes
Mellitus: Are the Associations Different from Those In Individuals
Without Diabetes? Sluik, D., et al. Diabetologia. Epub ahead of print,
October 17, 2013. (http://www.diabetologia-journal.org/files/Sluik.pdf);
- En Balance Participants Decrease Dietary Fat and Cholesterol Intake as
Part of a Culturally Sensitive Hispanic Diabetes Education Program.
Salto, L.M., et al. The Diabetes Educator. 2011;37(2);239-53.
- One Year Post Collaborative Depression Care Trial Outcomes among Predominantly Hispanic Diabetes Safety Net Patients. Ell, E., et al. General Hospital Psychiatry. 2011;33(5):436-42. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3175272/pdf/nihms303252.pdf);