Hispanic Heritage: Key Health Conditions, Recipes, Flags & Honorees


By Norma J. Goodwin, M.D., Founder & President, Health Power; and Elena Rios, M.D., President & CEO, National Hispanic Medical Association

Dr. Elena Rios Headshot 2016With September 15th to October 15th being National Hispanic Heritage Month, we are pleased that the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) is, for the 7th straight year, partnering regarding Health Power’s 2014 Hispanic Heritage Month Web Celebration; and that we are joined this year by another key partner, Hispanic-Serving Hispanic Health Professions Schools (HSHPS).

This year’s Hispanic Web Celebration features, include:

  • Ask the Expert, featuring Elena Rios, M.D., President and CEO, National Hispanic Medical Association, on what she considers the three greatest Health Conditions of Hispanics in the United States;
  • Hispanic Specialty Recipes to choose from in our Food and Fitness Channel;
  • “Viva Hispanic Cuisine”, an interview of nutritionist Lorena Drago, Head of “Hispanic Foodways”, with food and cooking tips; 
  • Flags of 21 Hispanic Nations, and
  • Past Health Power Hispanic Honorees

Dr. Rios’ views as the first expert of our new “Ask Our Expert” website feature follow, and the links below will connect you to our other Hispanic Heritage Celebration features.

Health Power: What do you consider the three greatest health conditions affecting Hispanics or Latinos, in the U.S., and why?

Dr. Rios: The three health conditions I consider most important are: Diabetes, Obesity, and Hepatitis C, and here’s why:

Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes, which is the most common type of diabetes, is rampant in Hispanic communities and has very serious complications when it’s not kept under control, such as blindness and amputations. That’s why it’s so important that there be increased awareness among Hispanics about pre-diabetes as well as diabetes since when pre-diabetes is diagnosed and managed properly, diabetes can be prevented.
Pre-diabetes occurs when a person’s blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. However, he or she has an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems including heart disease, and stroke. Without eating healthy and having enough regular exercise, many people with pre-diabetes may develop diabetes in 5 years.

Obesity: I mention obesity right after diabetes because these two conditions are closely related to each other. In fact, more than 8 out of every 10 adults who develop Type 2 diabetes are obese. Therefore, not becoming obese, or losing weight if you’re already obese often decreases a person’s risk of developing diabetes. As with prediabetes and diabetes, the two things that are most helpful for preventing and controlling overweight and obesity are: eating healthy and having enough regular physical activity. Eating healthy means eating 5 fruits and vegetables a day, and eating less fat, less foods with trans fats, less sugar, less foods and drinks with high sugar content, and less “fast foods”. It’s also important that special attention be given to avoiding childhood and teen obesity because children and teenagers who are obese are likely to become obese adults.

Hepatitis C: This condition, which is caused by the Hepatitis C virus, is especially harmful to Hispanics because it occurs in many more Hispanics  than in the overall U.S. population, and the rate is also increasing more rapidly in Hispanics. In addition, the mortality, or death rate, from hepatitis C is higher in Hispanics.

The increasing rate of Hepatitis c in Hispanics may be due to the fact that it can have no symptoms for years, which is why many people with this infection don’t know they have it, and thus are less likely to be screened for it. In fact, that’s why this disease is often called “a silent killer”. All Hispanics need to know that Hepatitis C is preventable, and can be treated. Therefore, knowing ones Hepatitis C status is the first step to both connecting infected persons to treatment, and preventing those with infection from spreading it to others.

The Health Power website at www.healthpowerforminorities.com and blog at www.blog.healthpowerforminorities.com both have a lot of additional information about all three of these conditions.

Links to other Hispanic Heritage Web Celebration features:


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