“Obesity has been a major health issue in the Hispanic population in the United States. A Western diet, lower socioeconomic status and lack of access to health care may be some of the factors for a 35% obesity rate in the U.S. Hispanic population. It’s highly associated with issues like diabetes. Same with coronary artery disease, and anything that comes with cardiovascular problems, like hypertension, risk of congestive heart failure, as well as risk of myocardial infarction,” he said.
Those issues can require complex care, but cultural differences and language challenges can keep Hispanic patients from seeking medical care.
“Being able to break that language barrier, being able to talk in their same language definitely makes a difference in terms of how much the patient will share with you in terms of their medical problems, psychosocial problems or barriers that they might have in order to get the adequate access to health care or treatment,” Leoni said.
Breaking barriers, even one at a time, can help, but preventing them is better.
“It’s better to prevent disease than have to treat the disease, so definitely we want to see patients at the right time,” Leoni said.
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