November 5, 2023

The Correlation between Diabetes and the Hispanic Border Population: Cultural Foods and Sedentary Lifestyle Implications

Salud – November 2023

In a region where cultures blend and traditions are celebrated, there is an alarming correlation between diabetes and the Hispanic population living on the border. As we delve into the factors contributing to this issue, one cannot overlook the significant role cultural foods and sedentary lifestyles play in the prevalence of diabetes.

“According to recent studies, the Hispanic population, particularly those living on the border, faces a higher risk of developing diabetes compared to other demographic groups,” explained Fredo Rodriguez Sosa, M.D., Internal Medicine. “There are several contributing factors, but cultural customs and dietary habits play a significant role in this increased vulnerability.”

Traditional Hispanic foods, rich in flavor and heritage, often contain high levels of saturated fats, sodium, and sugar, which can lead to weight gain and ultimately contribute to diabetes. Foods such as tamales, chiles rellenos, and pan dulce hold deep cultural significance, but their consumption in excess can contribute to a higher prevalence of diabetes within the community.

“It’s important to acknowledge that cultural foods are not the sole culprit,” Dr. Rodriguez Sosa emphasizes. “It’s about finding a balance and making more informed choices without sacrificing the essence and identity of our heritage.

Furthermore, the Hispanic border population faces additional challenges due to sedentary lifestyles. Long working hours, lack of access to recreational facilities, and safety concerns limit opportunities for physical activity.

“A sedentary lifestyle combined with a diet high in unhealthy fats and sugars exacerbates the risk of developing diabetes,” said Dr. Rodriguez-Sosa. “Awareness and education are vital in addressing these concerns.”

Community-led initiatives promoting healthier food choices and incorporating physical activity into daily routines are a step towards combating this growing issue.

“By collaborating with the local health department, healthcare providers and nutritionists, we can develop effective interventions that respect cultural customs while promoting healthier lifestyles,” said Dr. Rodriguez Sosa. In recent years, community organizations and healthcare professionals have made strides to address the issue and empower individuals to make informed decisions about their health. These initiatives work towards providing the Hispanic border population with resources, knowledge, and support to prevent and manage diabetes.

“By increasing awareness, making conscious food choices, and incorporating physical activity into our daily routines, we can reduce the prevalence of diabetes within our community. By focusing on prevention and empowering individuals to make healthier choices, we can ensure a brighter, healthier future for the Hispanic population living on the border,” Dr. Rodriguez Sosa explained.

Addressing the correlation between diabetes and the Hispanic population living on the border requires a multifaceted approach that embraces cultural diversity while promoting healthier lifestyles. By acknowledging cultural foods’ significance and adapting traditional recipes to meet nutritional needs, it is possible to strike a balance between heritage and health.

Dr. Fredo Rodriguez Sosa is board-certified in Internal Medicine. He was born and raised in Laredo and is gladly accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment or for more information, call the Cigarroa Clinic at (956) 725-1228 or visit