Health education is one of the core components of decreasing the prevalence of diabetes and improving health outcomes around the disease, especially when it comes to children. The earlier in a child’s life that they can learn healthy habits, the better their health outcomes will be later in life. Doing this establishes a foundation that will make it easier to maintain healthy behaviors and avoid the controllable factors that contribute to diabetes onset as adults.
Migrant Seasonal Agricultural Workers (MSAW) are part of the underserved groups considered essential during the ongoing pandemic. More than 80 percent of MSAWs in the U.S. are Hispanic/Latino. Hispanic/Latino adults have a rate of about 50 percent of developing Diabetes Type 2 due to genetics, food, culture, weight, and activity.
Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers (MSAWs) are often exposed to hazardous working conditions, long hours, extreme heat, and the physical demands of the work which can be tiresome. As more than 80% of MSAWs in the U.S. are Latino/Hispanic, MSAW communities are also more likely to experience certain chronic conditions that disproportionately impact Latino/Hispanic populations, like type II diabetes.
Hispanic Americans include a diverse group of cultures, each with their traditions and dietary lifestyles, making them more prone to Diabetes. Diabetes is most prevalent among the Latino/Hispanic communities due to poor general health. Poor general health can be associated with the individual's cultural values, level of education, social support systems, and sedentary behaviors. “Over their lifetime, U.S. adults have a 40 percent chance of developing type 2 diabetes,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states. “But if you’re a Hispanic/Latino American adult, your chance is more than 50 percent, and you’re likely to develop it at a younger age.”
One of the most important strategies for diabetes management and improvement is through maintaining a healthy diet. Combined with physical activity, this can be the pathway to controlling this disease and improving health outcomes. Good nutrition is not only important for individuals currently diagnosed with diabetes, but it can be vital for preventing the disease, especially for those who may be predisposed to it, such as family members.
Migrant farmworkers are essential workers who disproportionately come from Central America and Mexico. This community experiences unique challenges that limit their access to healthcare, such as isolated agricultural work environments, poor living conditions, language and cultural barriers, or immigration status. These barriers place migrant farmworker communities at higher risk for health complications and/or poor health outcomes, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As type II diabetes continues to rise, especially among our Latino population, it is important to educate our communities on the preventative measures and risk factors for this disease. While most of these interventions focus on individual behavior change, more recent research suggests that a family-centered approach to chronic disease prevention provides promising results. In this blog, we will discuss the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and how Community Health Workers play a key role in implementing family-centered diabetes interventions.
We hear the word diabetes very frequently-- maybe we know someone who suffers from it, a family member, a friend, or even ourselves. Without a doubt, diabetes management and control brings its own challenges. Unfortunately, some populations may face additional barriers depending on where we are born, grow, live, work, and age. Community Health Workers (CHWs) play an important role in helping patients overcome these barriers and support them to achieve a healthy lifestyle and good quality of life.
Community Health Workers in our healthy living initiative programs are helping Hispanic families change the way they approach food by providing essential education around nutrition that teaches them how to build healthier meals with the foods they know and love. Having knowledge around nutrition that is readily available is an important tool that has the potential to improve dietary habits and reduce the risk of chronic disease throughout a person’s life. But in many of the predominantly Spanish-speaking communities we serve, finding nutritional information that has been adapted to align with their language and culture can be challenging.
Our Community Health Worker (CHW)-led program, Juntos Podemos (Together We Can), is helping residents in the Rio Grande Valley change their lives by providing education and classes that promote healthy lifestyles. The program works specifically with Hispanic families who are enrolled in or eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP). It lasts 4-weeks and runs multiple times throughout the year to help as many families as possible.