Obesity and diabetes rank as the top health troubles affecting Latinos in this country. Three out of four Latino adults are overweight, and the rate of diabetes is almost twice the rate of non-Hispanic whites. These two health problems are difficult to overcome in any community, but it’s especially tough in California’s Central Valley, where they lack one basic necessity—clean water. And it’s hard to stay on a healthy path when bottled water is more expensive than soda.
When people go to prison they lose a lot of choices. They can’t decide when to get up or when to go to bed, when to eat or even what to eat. For incarcerated people with diabetes, having limited food choices raises serious health concerns.
To accompany this story, photographer Sean Havey took pictures of a diabetes education class at San Quentin Prison.
Treason is at the heart of the telenovela Retos para una vida saludable. But instead of a swarthy Romeo, the threat is sweet, salty and fatty foods. University of Massachusetts Medical School Associate Professor Milagros Rosal, PhD, and her colleagues developed the soap as part of the Lawrence Latino Diabetes Prevention project, a $2.6 million, federally funded intervention to help Latinos in Lawrence, Massachusetts prevent and manage diabetes.
This story is produced by Amy Mayer and mixed by Jones Audio Productions. It’s part of a year-long series examining health issues facing Latinos. Latino USA’s year-long look at Latinos and Health is made possible by funding from Pfizer Helpful Answers®, a family of patient assistance programs for the uninsured and underinsured who need help getting Pfizer medicines.
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Amy Mayer spent a year-and-a-half in Buenos Aires after college, before returning to the United States. She has reported on a variety of subjects literally from the far north (Alaska) to the far south (Australia and Argentina). She has been a reporter, producer, and host at NPR member stations and has produced freelance stories for a variety of programs and networks. In 2011, she produced the hour-long documentary Peace Corps Voices. Her print work has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Real Simple and many other publications.