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The Resident: A Snapshot of Health Disparities Facing Hispanic and Latinx Communities and How We Can Lead Healthier Lives

September 16, 2021

This month allows us to reflect on the health of the Latino community, the largest minority population in the United States. We all want to be as healthy as possible, and it is important to highlight the health outcomes that disproportionately affect the Latino and Hispanic communities. Compared to other ethnic groups, Hispanic and Latino populations are 22% less likely to have controlled blood pressure, have a colorectal cancer screening rate that is 28% lower than other ethnic groups, and are 50% more likely to die from diabetes.

What can we do to ensure that we address these problems, so we can be as healthy as possible?

Let’s start by talking about colonoscopies. This is a procedure that can help detect and reduce your risk of colon cancer. If you are over 45 or had a family member who suffered from colon cancer, bring it up with your doctor during your next medical appointment. If you are worried about getting a colonoscopy, you are not alone, a lot of people are! Talking to your doctor about how this procedure is done can help you feel more at ease.

How can we eat healthier to help with obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes without giving up on all the traditional foods we know and love?

This free recipe booklet below, available in both Spanish and English, is full of heart healthy Latino recipes that can help you lose weight, keep your diabetes in check, and lower your blood pressure. Are you craving some yuca but need an alternative to frying? Turn to page 3 for a fantastic recipe for yuca frita al horno. Page 11 has a delicious and simple recipe for lentil soup. ¡Sobrosos y saludables, que viva la tradición!

Delicious Heart Healthy Latino Recipes/Platillos latinos ¡sabrosos y saludables!

Couple these recipes with physical exercise to maximize your health benefits. If you need additional help with your diet, ask your Ryan Health provider about a referral to a nutritionist who can work with you to find which foods that are best for you and which ones are the ones you should avoid. Also check out this month’s article by Zoila Matos, Registered Dietician at Ryan Health on ways you can eat healthier with small changes.

Remember that making small and sustainable changes can make a big difference in your health in the long run. ¡Juntos podemos ser más sanos!

Contributed by Dr. Gabriela Bernal, a third-year Internal Medicine resident at the Mount Sinai Morningside-West. She currently sees patients at Ryan Health | Adair.