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Diabetes Epidemic in Hispanics

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Campaign Highlights Research Showing Small Changes in Lifestyle Can Prevent Diabetes

( Secretary Tommy G. Thompson has announced a new public awareness campaign to help Hispanics at risk for developing type 2 diabetes take the small steps necessary to prevent this devastating disease. The campaign reflects that, while diabetes is a growing epidemic for Hispanics, a recent landmark study found that type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented in those at risk for the disease.

HHS' National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) developed the "Prevengamos la diabetes tipo 2. Paso a Paso" (Let's Prevent Type 2 Diabetes: Step by Step) campaign in response to the results of the Diabetes Prevention Program clinical trial. The study found that by losing a small amount of weight, limiting fat and caloric intake, and exercising 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, participants dramatically reduced their risk for diabetes by more than half. More than 500 Hispanics participated in the clinical trial.

"With 'Paso a Paso,' we are asking Hispanics to find out if they are at risk for diabetes, and we're showing them how to take action to prevent it," Secretary Thompson said. "The key is regular physical activity and modest weight loss as little as ten pounds. I want to encourage people to take this message of good health to their families and their communities, so we can put an end to the diabetes epidemic."

Diabetes in the Hispanic community has reached epidemic proportions. Of the 30 million Hispanics living in the United States, about 2 million have diagnosed diabetes. Untreated, type 2 diabetes can lead to a number of serious health problems, including blindness, amputation, and kidney and heart disease. Millions of Hispanics have pre-diabetes, a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. Risk factors for pre-diabetes include family history, ethnicity, and being overweight.

As part of this new diabetes prevention effort, HHS is also unveiling a new music CD to help Hispanics get more physical activity to prevent type 2 diabetes. Performed by a diverse group of Hispanic recording artists, MOVIMIENTO, Por Su Vida (Movement, For Your Life) is a collection of six original songs with a Latin dance beat and lyrics that celebrate life in an effort to promote physical activity as a way to stay healthy and help prevent diabetes.

The CD's appeal transcends age and language boundaries combining cross-cultural lyrics with key messages and words repeated in Spanish and English. Strong, positive health messages are promoted via energetic, sizzling songs that make you want to get up and move. The CD comes with an insert that includes tips on how to incorporate the music into day-to-day activities as well as into special events such as community cultural gatherings, health promotion programs or even aerobics classes.

"Everything counts-taking the stairs, walking the dog, dancing to music, mowing the lawn-small changes can be easily incorporated," said Dr. Jaime Torres of the National Hispanic Medical Association, who helped develop the CD with NDEP. "Physical activity just needs to occur every day. Make it fun and take it step by step!"

The campaign also includes:

" National radio public service messages that will air on Spanish-language radio stations across the country

" Print public service announcements that encourage Hispanics to prevent diabetes

" A recipe and meal planner booklet featuring healthier twists on traditional Latino recipes

" New patient education materials on diabetes prevention

HHS' NDEP is a federally funded program co-sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is a leading source for information about diabetes care and prevention. NDEP has more than 200 partner organizations that form a network to reach the health care community and those affected by diabetes at the federal, state, and local levels.

For more information or to obtain a free copy of MOVIMIENTO or any of the campaign materials, call 1-800-438-5383 (bilingual information specialists are available), or visit the NDEP website at

© Health News 2004 All Rights Reserved.


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