Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 to October 15. During this time, we celebrate the culture, achievements, and contributions of Hispanic communities in the United States.
According to 2019 United States Census data, approximately 60.6 million Hispanics reside in the U.S. This number identifies the Hispanic community as the largest racial/ethnic minority group in the country. In spite of this marvelous growth, there is concern about the state of health of Hispanic people.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hispanic people have a greater risk of having diabetes. This is a disease that affects the sugar in the blood. Diabetes is a condition that can affect pregnancy and the developing baby. It’s important to keep it controlled before and during pregnancy.
Many things can increase the risk of diabetes (they are known as risk factors). Some factors can’t be controlled, like family medical history. But other factors, like the foods you eat and your physical activity, can be controlled. There are various things you can do to reduce the risk of this disease—live a healthy lifestyle, while celebrating your culture every day. For example:
- Getting a medical check-up every year is key to prevention. Speak with your healthcare provider if anyone in your family has diabetes (for example, your grandparents, parents, or siblings). Ask them about your risk factors and to give you a diabetes test.
- Cook your favorite meals in a healthful way. Use vegetables and herbs to season your food. Peppers, onion, garlic, and cilantro are some of the basic, common ingredients of Hispanic/Latino cuisine. These add delicious flavor to any food and can help you cook with less salt. Instead of desserts or cakes, eat fresh fruit.
- You don’t need to be a member of a gym to be active. You can do things in your home or community. For example, dancing is an activity that helps you stay physically active. You can organize activities with others who enjoy dancing or can dance in your home with your children, alone, or with your partner.
- Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Don’t let people smoke in your car or home. Be careful about the amount of alcohol you consume or avoid it completely. It can cause serious health problems and create complications if you already have diabetes.
These recommendations can be quite useful if you and your partner want to have a baby. Diabetes before pregnancy can make it more difficult to get pregnant; it affects the man as well as the woman. During pregnancy, diabetes can cause complications, like preterm birth. It’s important to think about the health of your future baby before conceiving. One way to help your baby have a healthy birth is to make sure you and your partner are healthy.