By Connie Villasmil
St. Hope Foundation
The term “Cognitive Miser” was coined by Fiske and Taylor (1984) to refer to the general idea that individuals frequently rely on simple and time efficient strategies when evaluating information and making decisions. It is much easier to rationally and objectively evaluate new information if we already have preset slots where it will fit. Otherwise the information overload would be immense and probably unmanageable.
The Hispanic population in the United States is battling yet another epidemic that threatens their health. According to national examination surveys, Mexican Americans are almost twice as likely as whites to be diagnosed with diabetes. They have higher rates of end-stage renal disease, caused by diabetes, and they are 50% more likely to die from diabetes as non-Hispanic whites.
Diabetes is a disease that causes blood sugar levels to be too high. Over time high blood sugar levels can hurt different parts of your body, such as your skin, mouth, kidneys, heart, nerves, eyes, and feet. It can even cause death. Type 2 diabetes affects about 1 in 10 Latinos. Within this group, Mexican-Americans are the most affected. Latinas are 17 times more likely to die from diabetes than white women. We can’t control some risk factors such as age, race, or genetics. But you can prevent or delay developing type 2 diabetes by eating healthy, exercising and keeping a healthy BMI.
Latinos face many barriers to good health and that is not surprising given the fact that language is such a predominant barrier in accessing care and understanding the recommendations that are provided to them. Nearly one-third of Latinos do not have health insurance or understand the purpose of CHIP. People who do not have insurance are less likely to have a regular doctor or get preventive care, which results in poorer health overall.
We need to learn to reach the different populations at their comfort level. We need to make it easy for everyone to understand the implication of healthy living and diabetes prevention in Latinos. We are already the most interesting, attractive and humble minority population, now we just need to be the healthiest. You can go to My Wellness Express to get tested for Diabetes and get helpful hints on how to start your new healthy lifestyle.