In recognition of American Diabetes Month, I’m working on a story about diabetes among Latinos in the San Joaquín Valley.
The story, which will run in the Nov. 24 edition of Vida en el Valle, will focus on the individual experiences of a few Latinos in the San Joaquín Valley who are living with diabetes. (UPDATE: Read the full story here.)
In the San Joaquín Valley, 11.3 percent of Latinos have been diagnosed with diabetes. Across California, more than 2 million adults have been diagnosed with diabetes, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research report, “Obesity and Diabetes: Two Growing Epidemics in California.”
For now, I’d like to introduce you to a few of the people who are featured in the story.
Time with diabetes: 3 months
Birth place/Current home: Oaxaca, México/Madera, CA
Advice for people recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes: “Don’t lose heart. Do your best: pay attention to your doctor, eat healthier food, and follow the diet.”
Time with diabetes: 14 years
Birth place/Current home: Mexicali, México/Porterville, CA
Advice: “You have to accept that you have this disease and you have to take care of yourself. If it’s not for you, it should be for your loved ones.
“You have to make the sacrifice. At first it is difficult, it is very difficult to become accustomed to another way of eating, but it’s worth it to take care of yourself and feel better.”
Time with gestational diabetes: 1.5 months
Birth place/current home: Jalisco, México/Stockton, CA
Advice for women with gestational diabetes: “It’s really all going to be worth it in the end – the dieting, the insulin. As much as it’s stressful and tedious, it really will all be worth it in the end.
“Yeah, I really want that piece of cheesecake, but then it’s not good for your baby, and ultimately your goal is to have a healthy baby. It’s all worth it in the end.”
Time with type 1 diabetes: 4 years
Current home: Selma, CA
Advice for kids diagnosed with type 1 diabetes: “At first it starts off bad – you don’t know what is happening. But once you start learning about it, you start to understand that it’s not your fault, it just happens. And things are going to change, but you will start getting used to it, and pretty much your life is going to go back to how it was, and diabetes is going to be another part of you, like your personality. You’re going to be a normal person like you were before, just having to do things a little differently.”
For more information about Latinos and diabetes, check out these sites: