Purpose of review: To describe how type 2 diabetes affects the Latino or Hispanic population in the United States, and identify the multiple challenges and opportunities to improve diabetes care in this rapidly growing group.
Recent findings: Three compelling reasons justify the work in this area. First, this group has become the largest minority in the country, representing 13.7% of the total population. Based on current growth rates, one in four individuals will be of Hispanic origin by the year 2050. Second, this population suffers from very high rates of type 2 diabetes, obesity, the metabolic syndrome and their multiple vascular complications. A genetic tendency to develop insulin resistance and abdominal obesity, along with multiple nutritional, lifestyle, socio-economic and cultural factors, influence the development and course of type 2 diabetes among Latinos. Third, Hispanics have lagged behind in their diabetes care when compared with the predominant non-Hispanic White population.
Summary: Understanding the challenges and opportunities in Latinos with diabetes is necessary to develop and implement comprehensive culturally oriented diabetes care, education, outreach and research programs. Some of these strategies may also be beneficial for other groups and can contribute to better integrate our societies.