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Health is the New Wealth: Latinx Health Disparities & the Rona

Adding four sugars para tu café every morning because you don’t like the taste of coffee? Well then my friends, the Freddie Kruger diabetes nightmare is sharpening his blades and coming for you.

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Mira mi gente!

We at Nexus Latinx hope all is well with you during día de la cuarentena numero 291. It feels like every day is Sunday, but in a weird, "I have a paper due tomorrow and I got nothing done this weekend” kind of way. How many webinars did you watch this week? Did your Netflix streaming break the electricity bill yet? We feel your pain and send you positive vibes as mother nature washes her hands, puts on her mask, finds her surgical gloves and leaves para hacer sucompra. Nena ¿qué quieres de Targétss?

In this edition of Café and Silver Linings we highlight, “Health is the New Wealth: Latinx Health Disparities & the Rona.”

Enjoying too many cuchifritos while on Rona lock down? Is your mom making a flan a week to help cope with anxiety? Adding four sugars para tu café every morning because you don’t like the taste of coffee? Well then my friends, the Freddie Kruger diabetes nightmare is sharpening his blades and coming for you.

What is a Health Disparity?

The League of United Latin American Citizens (https://lulac.org/) defines a health disparity as a "difference in health that is closely linked with social or economic disadvantages." Health disparities adversely affect groups of people who have consistently experienced social and economic obstacles to health and/or factors that influence health based on their ethnic group, gender, age, disabilities, gender identity, geographic location or other characteristics.

Hello, deja el chow. If “consistent social and economic obstacles to health” have never applied to you as a member of the Latinx community then consider yourself extremely lucky. Growing up in most hoods, if you had $3 in your pocket ($5.25 for inflation) then two slices of pizza and a fountain drink was lunch. The McDonald’s dollar menu was un banquete. IHOP was a special affair reserved for pay days and graduations. Salad? Fruits? Vegetables? Que eso? Like my father, Jose a.k.a "Kiko" famously said, “of course I eat fruit everyday… Fig Newton cookies are made with figs”.

How Do Health Disparities Weaken Our Fight Against the Coronavirus?

Unfortunately, health disparities contribute to the Latinx population being at a higher risk for pre existing chronic conditions. These conditions make us susceptible to suffering the most severe effects of the coronavirus. According to the BBCNews, being healthy does not mean you will not contract the coronavirus, but“people with weakened immune systems and people who have underlying chronic conditions including heart disease, diabetes, or asthma, are more at risk of severe effects if they do catch it.”

One major contributor to these underlying pre-existing conditions is obesity. If you are overweight then you are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, heart disease, high levels of blood fats, diabetes and LDL cholesterol – all risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Also, although obesity may not be a cause of asthma it can certainly wear down your lungs and contribute to asthma flare ups.

TheCenter for Disease Control and Prevention, states that:
  • Latinx adults are nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
  • the Latinx population is 1.2 times more likely to be obese than non-Latinx whites.
  • In the Bronx, Hunts Point has the second highest rate of asthma in the country.
  • In 2015, 2.2 million Latinx people reported that they currently have asthma.
  • Puerto Ricans have almost twice the asthma rate compared to the overall Latinx population.

So, while everybody is anxious to go outside and get back to “normal” because this virus is out of our control, we should focus on things we can control. Like a healthy balanced diet to substantially decrease your chances of being diagnosed with pre-existing conditions.

Keep the positivity flowing amidst a pandemic and focus on the silver linings of life.

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