Hispanic Physicians Recommend Strategies to Reduce Health Disparities, starting with Reducing Added Sugar in our Diets

Wednesday, September 7, 2016 Diet & Nutrition News J E 4

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) will hold a Congressional Breakfast Briefing tomorrow at the Rayburn House Office Building B340 from 8:00 am10:00am to discuss concreate ways to reduce health disparities in the U.S. with Congressman Raul Ruiz, MD, Congresswoman Robin Kelly and Congresswoman Barbara Lee as well as Lana Frantzen, PhD of the Dairy Council/GENYOUTH and Rick Black of Strategic Health Resources.  Presidents of the national minority physicians, nurses and dentists have also been invited to address Congressional staff and national advocates.

"The NHMA is supporting the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to increase healthy eating patterns, according to Dr. Elena Rios, the NHMA President & CEO, "which includes the new, concrete recommendation that people receive less than 10 percent of their daily calorie intake from added sugar. The NHMA mission is to improve the health of Hispanics and other underserved, and disease prevention is a major focus of our efforts. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, many more people are listening and interested in learning about health issues, so we believe the timing is key to add our voice to support the new dietary guidelines."

The evidence base for associations between eating patterns and specific health outcomes continues to grow. Strong evidence shows that healthy eating patterns (reducing sugar and sodium intake) are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Moderate evidence indicates that healthy eating patterns also are associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancers (such as colorectal and postmenopausal breast cancers), overweight, and obesity. Added sugar reduction, especially by decreasing sweetened beverages and increasing water consumption, needs to become a major health education effort in our schools, clinics and in our families.

Racial/ethnic healthcare and health disparities exist in our country for minorities living in poverty or in middle class neighborhoods where they live with chronic stress – low income jobs, high unemployment, crime, drugs, gangs, substandard housing, unsafe public spaces, guns, lack of nutritious food and drinks, lack of clean air and water and our undocumented family members live in constant fear of deportation and family break-ups. The consequences of these social determinants of health are early childhood obesity that lead to young adult heart disease, diabetes, asthma, HIV, cancers, depression and mental illness and drug addictions.    

NHMA will be discussing policies for Congress and the next Administration to develop more culturally relevant public health education programs.  Also, NHMA and other national minority health leaders are meeting with the US Department of Health and Human Services to discuss key ways to build programs for our minority populations' health following this briefing. Some other policies include access to affordable insurance and medications, improved mental health services, increased recruitment and mentoring of minority students to medicine and nursing careers in our communities, quality and coordinated care and research on minority patient centered health delivery and prevention.

About National Hispanic Medical Association: Established in 1994 in Washington, DC, the National Hispanic Medical Association is a non-profit association representing the interests of 50,000 licensed Hispanic physicians in the United States. Its mission is to improve the health of Hispanic and other underserved populations.


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SOURCE National Hispanic Medical Association



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