Body Image Puts Latina Women at Risk

By Chris Hoenig


Photo by Shutterstock

Latina women have a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) because of both obesity and lupus, but how they view their bodies is only increasing the potentially deadly nature of the risks.

Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center and the Center for Women’s Health found that Latinas underestimate their body weight at a significantly higher rate than non-Latina white women, increasing the dangers that heart diseasewhich Latina women are already at a greater risk of developing from obesity than non-Latina whiteswill go un- or undertreated.

More than 600 Latina and non-Latina whites were asked to identify themselves as overweight, normal or underweight and choose a silhouette that corresponded with what they believed was their body mass index (BMI), a measurement of height-to-weight ratio. Only 69 percent of Latina women correctly assessed their body weight (compared with nearly 83 percent of non-Latina whites), and nearly half of themincluding 17 percent of obese Latinasunderestimated their weight. Less than 13 percent of non-Latina whitesand none of the obese non-Latinasunderestimated their weight. The same patterns were seen in the silhouette test.

“Education about cardiovascular disease, weight perception and healthy weight are critical steps in addressing the relationship between obesity and the rise in CVD mortality attributed to it,” wrote Dr. Elsa-Grace V. Giardina, one of the study’s leaders. “Focused attention to Hispanic women, including those who are overweight and obese and those who speak primarily Spanish, provides an opportunity to broaden the scope to improve CVD knowledge and to transform current behaviors.”

And greater education will be a key, as the study also revealed that Latina women are less likely than non-Latina whites to recognize the dangers of cardiovascular diseaseit is the leading cause of death in womenand were less likely to correctly identify the symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. Language was determined to be a stumbling block, as Spanish-speaking and bilingual Latinas had more trouble understanding heart disease, its symptoms and risk factors than those who spoke primarily English.

Pop Star Brings Attention to Lupus

Latinas are also at a greater risk than non-Latina whites to develop heart disease and kidney problems as a result of lupus.

The large-scale LUMINA (Lupus in Minorities: Nature versus Nurture) study found that Latinas are two to three times more likely to develop lupus, are diagnosed at a younger age, have more aggressive forms with more serious complications, and are at a greater risk of dying from the disease than non-Latina whites.

The complications and risks Latinas face from lupus has been thrust back into the spotlight after pop star Selena Gomez suddenly cancelled the Australian leg of her world tour over the holidays, reportedly due to a flare up in health issues related to lupus. The 21-year-old singer and actress, who was diagnosed with lupus in her teens, has reportedly been experiencing facial swelling, extreme fatigue, headaches and joint pain.

Latest News

degeneres, work, show

Leadership Lessons to be Gleaned from Ellen DeGeneres’ Toxic Workplace Scandal

Ellen DeGeneres began her daytime talk show’s 18th season with an apology after a summer of allegations against her that claimed her show promoted a toxic work environment rife with racism, sexual misconduct and other mistreatment. In August 2020, three senior producers — executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman…

COVID entrepreneur

Explosive New Growth in Small Businesses Due to COVID-19; America’s Police Force is Not Becoming More Diverse Despite BLM Movement; the Best and Worst Performing States in the 2020 Census; and More

Even with incredible nationwide unemployment rates, the creation of new small and diverse businesses has exploded due to COVID-19. Finally some news coming out of our pandemic: The Philadelphia Tribune reports that as bars and restaurants closed and stay-at-home orders were put into place earlier in 2020 to help fight…

Justice for Breonna not served; The essential rule of politics; Teen serves two months in jail for not doing homework; and More

Justice for Breonna not served as grand jury indicted officer who shot her with wanton endangerment — but not murder. “Outrageous and offensive.” Those were  by attorney to the family, Ben Crump to describe the grand jury’s decision in the March 13 fatal police shooting of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor. While…

IBM, EEOC, age

EEOC Unearths Years of Intentional Age Discrimination within IBM

After a long investigation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has revealed that IBM leaders had directed managers to replace older workers with younger ones. Between 2013 and 2018, nearly 86% of those considered for layoffs within the organization were older employees over the age of 40. The investigation showed…

Breathe March in Globe Park, New York, USA - 12 Sep 2020

Cities under attack from the Justice Department; Louisville bracing for the Breonna Taylor murder charge; Twitter reveals its racist side; and More

Justice department attacks three U.S. cities, declaring them anarchist zones — despite most of the protests that took place in each city being peaceful marches in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In a move designed to pull federal funding from New York City, Seattle and Portland, OR, the…

ginsburg, supreme, court

The Lasting Legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — Plus the Four Biggest Issues Currently at Stake Following Her Death

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who served on the nation’s highest court for 27 years, passed away Friday, Sept. 18 at the age 87. “As the second woman ever to sit on the highest court in the land, she was a warrior for gender equality — someone who believed…