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Latinos are at risk, our health is suffering




You would be surprised to know that people in the richest country in the world, the USA of course, are becoming less healthy. 

This is happening as we have better and more information about health, disseminated more frequently through television and Internet. We also have drugs to cure more diseases (though fewer people have access to them due to rising number of people without healthcare).  




The United Health Foundation board reports that during the 2000s, health in the United States has improved by an annual rate of only 0.2 percent each year - 1/8 the rate experienced during the 1990s. This report reveals that the prevalence of obesity - defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30.0 or higher - has increased by 97.0 percent since 1990, and now affects 22.8 percent of the total population of the United States. Obesity is known to contribute to a variety of diseases, preventable healthcare costs and diminished workplace productivity. 

The states in worst conditions this year are Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Alabama and Mississippi have the greatest prevalence of obesity, with over 28 percent of the population being obese. Clearly there is a correlation here between poverty and obesity. Sounds ironical, but that is the way it is in the USA. The other finding to note is that non-Caucasian women lag behind in one critical area - prenatal care. This is particularly bad because not only does it mean that Latinas are not getting enough care themselves but also their kids are likely to be less healthy. This can partly explain some discouraging data on infant mortality.

"During the last four years, the data clearly indicate that we as a nation still have a lot more work to do in improving risk factors that result in disease. This year's report specifically highlights the prevalence of obesity, the infant mortality rate - which has experienced its first increase in 40 years - and access to essential health services as priorities for action," explained Dr. William McGuire, chairman of the United Health Foundation board. "If we are to succeed in combating the obesity epidemic, individuals need to make responsible choices, communities need to mobilize resources, and effective public policies need to be enacted that promote appropriate childhood nutrition and encourage physical activity," added Dr. Reed Tuckson, vice president for United Health Foundation.

So what can we do to protect our health?
Actually, it is not rocket science and we should already know this but let us review them one more time:

1- Eat in accordance with your lifestyle. Barely enough to keep you going.

2- Exercise regularly. Remember exercise is not just going to the gym. 

3- So if you can not afford going to the gym because you don't have money or time, you can still exercise: walk when you can instead of using the phone, use the stairs when possible, do things yourself rather than asking others, and there are lots of ways in which you can exercise and have fun (bellydancing, karate, yoga, etc.). 

4- Sleep well. 8 hours will be great. 

5- Drink plenty of water.

6- It is OK to snack but how about a fruit instead? 

7- Throw out junk food from your home and from your diet. A trip to a fast food restaurant is fine when you are driving long distance and it is the only choice to eat in a hurry in a rest area, but there is simply no excuse to eat a 2,000 calorie meal as a matter of habit. And by the way, toys are pretty cheap these days in Wal-Mart. You don't have to bring the kids to a fast food restaurant for the sake of toys. If the kids still insist, it is OK to pay for the toys without the food.

You can have a healthier life style without starving yourself. To eat healthy simply means to choose better foods. Many Latinos in this country have limited access to health care so it is even more important to prevent illnesses. Make the right choices and you will be protecting your health.  

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