Latino diabetes boom caused by range of factors

The Ventura County Star‘s Kim Lamb Gregory looked into the high rate of Type 2 diabetes among the local Latino population, a trend which is reflected nationwide. Gregory found that the high incidence of the disease had to be blamed on a range of genetic, environmental and cultural factors and extends to children as well as adults.

Type 2 diabetes typically develops in adults, but doctors are seeing an alarming number of cases in Latino children. If current trends in childhood obesity go unchecked, one out of every two Latino children born in the year 2000 will develop it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Latino propensity for diabetes could be even due in part to the genes contributed to the modern Mexican population by Spanish conquistadors, Gregory found. When Mexican families then migrate to the United States they encounter an ideal environment for those genes to run amok and help cause the disease.

Nutritionist Selfa Saucedo described what makes the American landscape so dietarily dangerous, including problems with medical access, no transportation and children experiencing issues at school.

Gregory breaks several of those stressors and other factors down in detail, then steps back for the big picture:

… diabetes and pre-diabetes will cost the U.S. economy $336 billion per year by 2034. Diabetes cost the U.S. more than $174 billion in 2007. Factor in pre-diabetes, gestational diabetes and those who are undiagnosed and it rises to $218 billion, according to the Lewin Group, a healthcare policy research and management consulting firm.

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