Effective interventions needed to tackle diabetes prevention in Hispanics

November 10, 2017

Hispanics form the largest minority group in the U.S, and are twice as likely to have diabetes compared with non-Hispanic whites -- yet a new review highlights that nearly 40% of US Hispanics with diabetes have not been formally diagnosed. Published in Frontiers in Endocrinology ahead of World Diabetes Day on November 14, the study also finds that diabetes prevalence varies widely among different Hispanic heritage groups and in different Latin American countries. The findings indicate that further research and more effective, adaptable interventions are needed to prevent and manage diabetes in Hispanics.

"The prevalence of diabetes continues to increase not only in the U.S., but also in Latin America," says Larissa Avilés-Santa of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute and one of the study's authors. "The problem is both serious and complex. Although the specific causes of type 2 diabetes (the most common type of diabetes) in Hispanics/Latinos are not completely understood, genetic, biologic, environmental, socioeconomic, lifestyle and cultural factors could be playing different roles in increasing its prevalence and could underlie the differences observed among different Hispanic heritage groups."

The U.S. Census Bureau defines Hispanics (or Latinos) as persons "of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture regardless of race", although this definition is currently being debated. Despite originating from many different Latin American countries, people sometimes assume that they have broadly similar backgrounds. In fact, Hispanics form a hugely diverse group with significant differences in ancestry and culture.

To better understand diabetes in this diverse population, Avilés-Santa and colleagues reviewed scientific studies on diabetes prevalence, causes, treatment and prevention in Hispanics in the U.S. and Latin America.

The researchers found that diabetes prevalence varies widely among different Hispanic heritage groups, as well as between different Latin American countries. Shockingly, studies performed in the U.S. report that nearly 40% of Hispanics with diabetes have not been formally diagnosed and may be unaware of their diabetes, meaning they risk long-term complications.

The review identified several studies that involve lifestyle or pharmacological interventions to prevent or treat diabetes in Hispanics. In many cases, the results are promising, showing that interventions such as exercise or dietary programs can make a significant difference.

Avilés-Santa and colleagues propose strategies to enhance research and clinical interventions to prevent diabetes more effectively in Hispanics/Latinos. For example, the researchers highlight that to make the results of studies in Hispanics more generalizable, the diversity of Hispanic heritage groups and nationalities should be considered. In addition, collaboration among research teams across the continent could improve studies that investigate the causes and prevention of diabetes among Hispanics of different origins.

The authors also highlight that the diversity of socioeconomic, psychosocial and cultural factors among Hispanic heritage groups needs to be considered when designing lifestyle intervention programs. For example, eating habits, and attitudes to health and self-care are intricately linked to someone's culture.

"We need to start designing more effective lifestyle intervention studies for Hispanics/Latinos that incorporate sound understanding of their diverse cultural norms and adapt to their daily life," says Avilés-Santa.

The organizers of World Diabetes Day, which takes place on November 14 each year, aim to help vulnerable groups around the world, such as Hispanics, to increase their access to essential diabetes care and prevention services.


Related Diabetes Articles from Brightsurf:

New diabetes medication reduced heart event risk in those with diabetes and kidney disease
Sotagliflozin - a type of medication known as an SGLT2 inhibitor primarily prescribed for Type 2 diabetes - reduces the risk of adverse cardiovascular events for patients with diabetes and kidney disease.

Diabetes drug boosts survival in patients with type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 pneumonia
Sitagliptin, a drug to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, also improves survival in diabetic patients hospitalized with COVID-19, suggests a multicenter observational study in Italy.

Making sense of diabetes
Throughout her 38-year nursing career, Laurel Despins has progressed from a bedside nurse to a clinical nurse specialist and has worked in medical, surgical and cardiac intensive care units.

Helping teens with type 1 diabetes improve diabetes control with MyDiaText
Adolescence is a difficult period of development, made more complex for those with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Diabetes-in-a-dish model uncovers new insights into the cause of type 2 diabetes
Researchers have developed a novel 'disease-in-a-dish' model to study the basic molecular factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, uncovering the potential existence of major signaling defects both inside and outside of the classical insulin signaling cascade, and providing new perspectives on the mechanisms behind insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and possibly opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics for the disease.

Tele-diabetes to manage new-onset diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic
Two new case studies highlight the use of tele-diabetes to manage new-onset type 1 diabetes in an adult and an infant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Genetic profile may predict type 2 diabetes risk among women with gestational diabetes
Women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles, suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.

Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.

People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.

Read More: Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.