January 13, 2009

New tools for Hispanic diabetics

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health aim to help U.S. Hispanic diabetics enjoy traditional food, officials say.

A guide, Mas que comida, es vida -- It"²s more than food, it"²s life -- provides new tools to Hispanics to prepare traditional foods in a more healthy way.

A few simple adjustments can make these dishes healthier and lower in fat and calories, Betsy Rodriguez of the National Diabetes Education Program"²s Hispanic/Latino Work Group says in a statement.

It is written in English and Spanish and includes a recipe booklet, Tasty Recipes for People with Diabetes and Their Families, that offers food ideas specifically designed for the Hispanic palate. Among the recipes included are: Spanish omelet, beef or turkey stew, Caribbean red snapper, two cheese pizza and avocado tacos.

Compared to whites, Hispanics are disproportionately affected by diabetes -- more than 10 percent of Hispanics age 20 and older have diagnosed diabetes. Among Hispanics, rates of diabetes are 8.2 percent for Cubans, 11.9 percent for Mexican-Americans and 12.6 percent for Puerto Ricans.

Meal preparation is a critical component of diabetes control, Rodriquez said. Studies show that overweight or obese individuals can prevent or delay diabetes by losing just 5 percent to 7 percent of their total weight.

The recipe booklet is available at www.ndep.nih.gov or by calling 1-888-693-NDEP.