Latinas in U.S. more likely to have diabetes, study finds

Courtesy of NYU College of Nursing

Researchers at NYU’s College of Nursing recently released a study analyzing Latina women in America and their likelihood to develop prediabetes and diabetes.

Professors Shiela Strauss, Sherry Deren and Mary Rosedale conducted the study by analyzing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The professors, with the help of others, examined the proportion of women from different racial groups who experienced high glucose levels that would make them susceptible to developing diabetes.

According to the study, around 5.5 million Latinas have developed elevated fasting plasma glucose levels, which leads to high blood glucose and consequently to diabetes, but several million of them are unaware that they may develop diabetes. This lack of awareness and lack of access to a healthcare provider has led to high rates of preventable morbidity.

Strauss said one purpose of the study is to inform women of the severity of the disease.

“Notably, women are often more severely affected by diabetes complications than men are,” Strauss said. “Unfortunately, little was known about the extent to which Latinas with undiagnosed prediabetes and diabetes visit a health care provider to have their blood glucose measured, enabling them to take the important steps needed to best preserve their health.”

A press release from March 7 said the study found that all women who had their blood glucose measured by a healthcare provider were often not told about their risk of developing diabetes. Latinas especially do not have access to care that would allow them to check their blood glucose and their susceptibility to developing prediabetes and diabetes.

Silver senior Maria Monica Andia said she wonders how the study’s findings will affect Latinas at NYU and across the country.

“Other implications this study could have are revealing the discrepancies in the quality of care that Latinos receive,” Andia said. “I would be interested in seeing how this study affects how Latinos are faring in the [United States] over all … [and] how the NYU Health Center would respond and if they are doing something to ensure that Latina patients are informed.”

CAS sophomore Monica Martinez said the Latino community is under the impression that diabetes is not as pressing as it is.

“There’s more of an ‘I’ll deal with it when I get it’ mentality,” Martinez said. “There’s not a lot of focus for prevention.”

Martinez added that many people in the Latino community think diabetes is solely a dieting issue.

“Not knowing the full scope of the disease and just associating it with a poor diet and being overweight is a problem,” Martinez said.

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, March 13 print edition. Anjana Sreedhar is a staff writer. Email her at news@nyunews.com. 

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