Worldwide, the United States is known for its large portion sizes, low activity levels, and most especially its fatty, greasy, American food that has foreigners dumbfounded. Overall, compared to Mexicans, U.S populations had greater intakes of saturated fat, sugar, dessert and salty snacks, pizza and French fries, low-fat meat and fish, high-fiber bread, and low-fat milk (Batis 2011). One of the major issues that stems from this (unfortunately, in many states, quite true) stereotype is the rising prevalence of type two diabetes.
Type two diabetes has become increasingly common among the U.S population in recent years, and the steadily rising numbers are worrisome; low-income Mexican-American populations are especially at risk for developing type two diabetes (Reynaldo 2005). Certain lifestyle choices and experiences, including food insecurity, less physically demanding jobs, an increase in sedentary recreation, and reduced amount of opportunities for physical exercise in daily life are precipitating factors for Mexican-American folks to become overweight, and eventually develop type 2 diabetes (Reynaldo 2005).
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Obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes in Mexico can no longer be dismissed as problems that only the upper classes are plagued with. Superfluous and unhealthy diets, excess screen time, and a reluctance to exercise are some of the factors at play when examining the trends of non-communicable diseases such as childhood obesity and type two diabetes. Type two diabetes and obesity are especially prevalent in low income Mexican-American children mainly due to poor lifestyle characteristics, but genetics may also play a role in the rising occurrence of these non-communicable diseases.
Both the long-term and short-term health effects of these diseases are myriad and disheartening. Diabetes was once considered an adults-only disease but has recently become increasingly common in children. Between 2011-2012, around 23% of new diabetes diagnoses in children were type 2 diabetes. Until 2001, type 2 diabetes accounted for less than 3% of all newly diagnosed diabetes cases in young people; recent studies show that type 2 diabetes now comprises 45% of those cases (Healthline Media). This disease occurs when the levels of glucose in the blood are too high; blood glucose is the bodys main source of energy and comes mainly from the food you eat. A hormone manufactured by the pancreas, insulin, helps glucose get into the cells to be used for energy. In type 2 diabetes, the body either doesnt make enough insulin or doesnt use insulin well. This leads to excess levels of glucose staying in the bloodstream, and not enough reaching the cells of the body (National Institute 2017).
Syndemics is defined as the synergistic interaction of two or more coexistent diseases and resultant excess burden of disease (Clair 2008). The chronic stress that results from poverty, discrimination, and other forms of social suffering contribute to the emergence of ill health while making it more difficult to manage and maintain treatment regimens.
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