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Av. Diabetol. 2008;24(4):283-290

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Type 2 Diabetes in the Latino Population in the U.S.: a growing challenge

Revisión - Vol.24 N.4  julio-agosto 2008
A.E. Caballero1

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The Latino or Hispanic group in the United States of America has become the largest minority in the country, representing 13.7% of the total population. It is estimated that by the year 2050, 1 in 4 individuals will belong to this group. This population suffers from very high rates of type 2 diabetes, obesity, the metabolic syndrome, and their multiple vascular complications. Generally speaking, there is a genetic tendency to develop insulin resistance, abdominal obesity and beta cell dysfunction that in combination with multiple nutritional, life-style, socio-economic and cultural factors influence the development and course of type 2 diabetes in this high-risk group. Unfortunately, Latinos have lagged behind in their health care in the U.S. when compared to the mainstream white population. There are multiple and complex patient, health care provider and health care system factors that contribute to this health care disparity. Therefore, it is imperative to understand all the factors that contribute to the high rates of type 2 diabetes and suboptimal diabetes care in this group to develop and implement effective strategies to help this population. The gained experience through the work with this population may be helpful for the development of diabetes care programs in other parts of the world that aim at improving the care of underserved and disadvantaged populations.


Correspondencia: A.E. Caballero, MD. Director of the Latino Diabetes Initiative. Director, Medical
Affairs, Professional Education. Joslin Diabetes Center. Harvard Medical School.
Boston, MA. E-mail:

Palabras clave

culture diabetes mellitus disparities Hispanic Latino


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