Let’s celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with good health

From September 15th through October 15th we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. This is a time where we recognize Hispanic culture, achievements and contributions. It’s also a great time to share health messages that can help improve the quality of life of the Hispanic community in the United States. There are things you can do to help prevent conditions like diabetes and obesity. These conditions affect many people in our country, but especially the Hispanic community

How can you improve your health and help lower your risk of diabetes and obesity?

Here’s what you can do:

  • Having a medical checkup every year is the key to prevention. Talk to your healthcare provider if someone in your family has diabetes (for example, your grandparents, parents, or siblings). Ask your provider about your risk factors and ask them to give you a diabetes test.
  • Cook your favorite foods in a healthy way. Use vegetables and herbs to season your food. Peppers, onions, garlic, and cilantro are some of the basic and common ingredients in Latin cuisine. These ingredients add rich flavor to any meal and can help you cook with less salt. Eat fresh fruit Instead of desserts or cookies.
  • You don’t need to have a gym membership to be active. You can do things in your home or community. For example, dancing is an activity that helps you stay physically active. You can organize activities with other people who enjoy dancing, or you can dance at home with your children or with your partner.

Thinking about having a baby?

Talk to your provider about how to control chronic health conditions before getting pregnant, like:

  • Diabetes. Women who have diabetes before pregnancy may have a harder time getting pregnant. During pregnancy, diabetes also can increase your risk of having a premature baby (born before 37 weeks of pregnancy). Get your diabetes under control 3 to 6 months before you get pregnant.
  • Depression. It’s a medical condition that needs treatment to get better. Depression causes feelings of sadness and a loss of interest in things you like to do. It’s one of the most common medical complications of pregnancy.
  • High blood pressure (also called hypertension). High blood pressure happens when the pressure in your arteries becomes too high. This can cause problems for you and your baby during pregnancy, including preeclampsia and premature birth.
  • Obesity. Losing some weight before pregnancy can help you reduce the risk of having complications like high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, among others. Preeclampsia is a kind of high blood pressure some women get after the 20th week of pregnancy or after giving birth.

Get a preconception checkup even if you’ve already had a baby. Your health may have changed since you were last pregnant. Before pregnancy, take a vitamin supplement that has 400 micrograms of folic acid in it every day.

Learn more marchofdimes.org and nacersano.org