Are Latinos at Greater Risks for Obesity?

March 13, 2017 by Veronica Garcia

Obesity is one of the greatest health risks facing the United States today. While obesity may be preventable, it has many causes that people don’t usually think about. Diet and exercise make an obvious impact on a person’s obesity, but they aren’t the only important factors to consider. Income, ethnicity, and where you live are closely linked to the development of obesity.

Latinos, in particular, are at an increased risk of obesity, with more than 77% of Latino adults qualifying as overweight or obese compared to 67.2% in white adults. Like most health issues, finding a solution begins with understanding the problem.

Why Are Latinos at a Higher Risk for Obesity?

Obesity is about more than just making the right decisions. Inequality plays a major role in a number of ways. Here is a quick breakout behind the “why” when it comes to obesity for Latinos.

Language Barriers

For those with a limited understanding of the English language, accessing and understanding information about their health and the programs available to them can be a huge challenge. Many health education workers have not been trained in multiple languages, nor have they had much experience addressing the needs of the Latino community. The result is a lack of valuable information and assistance on health issues.

Lack of Access to Healthy Food

Approximately 23% of Latino families live in poverty compared to 11% of white families. Given the higher rate of poverty, too many people in Latino communities don’t have access to healthier options that make it easier to fight obesity. In America’s fast food and supermarket culture, high-quality, fresh food is treated like a luxury item and tends to be made more available in affluent areas. In fact, Latino neighborhoods have one-third the number of grocery stores nearby as non-Latino neighborhoods, a discrepancy which studies have shown is linked to obesity.

Limited Access to Exercise Facilities/Resources

According to a 2011 study, Latino adults were 30% less likely to engage in physical activity than white adults. This has nothing to do with laziness and everything to do with income and location. Only one-third of Latinos live within walking distance of a park compared to half of the white population, and 80% of Latino neighborhoods lack any recreational facilities.

Working to Build a Healthy Community in Our Own Backyard

At Laredo Emergency Room, we care about our community’s health both before and after an emergency. For helpful bilingual resources, fitness guides, quality medical information, and community updates, stay tuned to our social media and visit our website. When an emergency does strike, Laredo Emergency Room is open 24/7 to deliver smarter care, faster.

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