- Research shows that US-born Hispanics may have a higher predisposition to chronic health conditions like obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and asthma compared to Hispanics born in other countries.
- The higher incidence of diseases may be the result of a Westernized diet and lifestyle changes. US-born Hispanics showed higher levels of metabolites linked to increased risks of certain chronic diseases.
- Obesity and diabetes are significant factors contributing to heart diseases, especially within the Hispanic population in the U.S. The large incidence of these conditions underscores the importance of attention to diet and lifestyle.
- A diet rich in healthy, plant-based foods can counteract the negative effects of a westernized diet, which often involves processed foods.
- Further research is needed to understand the acculturation of diet among Hispanics, the effects of time spent in the U.S., and the age of migration on dietary and lifestyle changes.
New research indicates that Hispanic individuals born in the United States could be more susceptible to multiple chronic conditions when compared to their counterparts from other countries.
Unfavorable Blood Cardiometabolic Profile in US-Born Hispanics
The research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health conference gatherings suggests that Hispanics born in the U.S. possess an unfavorable blood cardiometabolic status associated with obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and asthma. Such conclusions should be treated as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The key point emerging from the research is the higher incidence of diseases in foreign-born Latinos living in the U.S. for an extended period, most likely due to changing diet, lifestyle, and environmental factors. Yang Li, a study co-author and a researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, points out that Westernized food drives the metabolic status difference between U.S. and non-U.S. born Latinos.
Examining Latinx Health Through Metabolites
The research conducted an analysis of metabolites resulting from the body breaking down substances like amino acids and sugars. Over 7,000 participants from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos were involved, with the follow-up period extended up to six years from when participants’ blood was taken.
The study found that U.S-born Hispanic individuals had higher levels of metabolites linked with a 22% increased risk of diabetes, a 42% higher risk of asthma, a 16% increased risk of critical obesity, and a 15% higher risk of chronic kidney disease. In contrast, foreign-born Hispanics showed metabolites associated with reduced risk for these diseases.
Obesity and Diabetes within the US Hispanic Population
Obesity and diabetes significantly contribute to heart diseases, the leading cause of death in the U.S. According to AHA’s recent statistics, over 40% of Hispanic adults suffer from obesity. In addition, 12% of Hispanic adults were diagnosed with diabetes as of 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
The Importance of Diet and Lifestyle in Health
This emergent pattern reinforces the necessity of incorporating healthy plant-based foods into Hispanic diets, highlighting the potential adverse effects of a Western diet, such as processed foods. Prior research suggests that the Latino diet’s deterioration after migration to the U.S. leads to poor health.
More studies are required to fully understand the reasons behind diet acculturation among Hispanics. Other factors like time spent in the U.S. and the age at which one migrates could also play a role in dietary and lifestyle changes.
Need for Further Insights
Both Li and Jiménez agree on the pressing need for further research to fully grasp the reasons behind diet acculturation among Hispanic individuals. The future research should shed more light on how U.S. nativity is associated with developing lifestyle diseases to understand the situation well and take preventive measures, especially given the growing Hispanic population in the country.