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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. April 9, 2024: Characterized by excessive fat deposits, obesity is a chronic disease that impairs health and contributes to various complications like type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. And as global obesity rates rise steadily, the Latin American population in the United States is no exception. A systematic review published in the journal notes that obesity affects about 40% of the population in the US, with Latino people reporting a relatively higher prevalence of the condition.

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Specifically, 44.8% of Latin Americans meet the criteria for obesity, compared to only 42.2% of the non-Latin American White population. This disproportionate risk and diagnosis of obesity can give rise to adiposity-related comorbidities like diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. As such, it is worth looking into disease risk factors to guide Latin Americans in losing and managing their weight healthily.

Obesity rates linked to various risk factors

The same study mentioned earlier links several risk factors to the burden of obesity in the Latin American population. Beyond genetic susceptibility observed among this demographic, environmental factors like traditional Latino diets, which tend to be high in carbohydrates, can promote unhealthy weight gain. Socioeconomic status can also influence the risk of developing obesity, with wealthier families from Central America being less likely to be obese, for example.

Interestingly, research from the American Heart Association notes that immigration patterns can also be associated with cardiometabolic syndromes, including obesity. To illustrate, US-born Hispanic people have a 16% higher risk of severe obesity than foreign-born Latinos who immigrate to the US, primarily due to their changing food patterns and exposure to Westernized food.

Fortunately, it is never too late to address these risk factors and pave the way for a healthier weight and better lifestyle through the tips explored in the next section.

Healthy weight loss tips worth exploring

Setting realistic weight goals

While healthy weight loss can be challenging, overweight/obese Latin Americans can make progress by setting realistic weight goals. Instead of resorting to diet fads and extreme workouts, they can search questions like “How long does it take to lose weight?” and “What factors affect weight loss?” to manage expectations throughout their journey.

Once it becomes clear that weight loss is different based on their age, sex, body type, initial weight, and other biological and lifestyle factors, they can then adopt healthy habits like eating a nutritionally balanced diet and adjust their weight goals based on which approach works best for them.

Choosing more nutritious traditional foods

While it was mentioned before that cultural factors like the traditional Latino diet can promote obesity, immigrant populations don’t necessarily have to ditch their local cuisine to lose weight and reduce their disease risk. Instead, they can prioritize nutrient-rich traditional foods in their culture to better transform their eating habits.

For example, beans are a staple in signature dishes like frijoles and burritos. This ingredient can be an excellent source of not only protein for staying full for longer but also vitamins and minerals like iron, potassium, and magnesium.

Taking advantage of professional support

Beyond seeking help from family and friends during their weight loss journey, Latin Americans at risk of being overweight and obese can also benefit from professional support. While it can be difficult to access traditional healthcare services due to cultural, linguistic, and economic barriers, they can take advantage of digital patient support to remotely consult with medical professionals on their specific weight goals and health needs.

In the same way, that digital patient support is expanding healthcare access and boosting overall health outcomes in Latin America, immigrant populations can leverage their connectivity for telecare, remote monitoring, and video consultations.

Overall, healthy weight loss is possible when individuals utilize the informational tools at their disposal and incorporate essential health information into their habits and lifestyle choices.

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