“Apparently Hispanics are the group that’s growing the quickest, not only in population numbers but in weight! We’re number 1!” says iLatino host Enrique Santos.
In this tongue-in-cheek iLatino video, Santos and correspondent Casey Woods, explore the reason behind the increasingly high obesity rates among Latinos in the U.S.
“It’s no secret that America has a weight problem. The evidence is all around us," says Woods standing in front of famed Colombian artist, Fernando Botero’s sculpture of “Eve”. Botero is known for depicting elements from daily life with exaggerated and disproportionate volumes.
But, “who is the evil genius responsible for the Latin fatness explosion?” asks Woods. Apparently it’s a woman named Ines Calderon who works in a restaurant in Miami.
"Do you ever worry that your clients are getting a little too fat?" Woods asks Calderon.
"Yes, and for their health too. And I tell them but they say it's the food they like and they are happy," says Calderon.
iLatino's conclusion? “In the end those extra pounds and the problems that come with them may be just another part of becoming an American.”
The video may be satirical, but it brings to light a very real and serious problem: the increasing rates of obesity within the Latino community in the U.S.
In Texas, where more than 55 percent of the state's population is expected to be Hispanic by 2040, 75 percent of Latinos were overweight or obese as of 2009.
The data is similar in other states. In Colorado, nearly 41 percent of Hispanic adults are overweight and 25 percent are obese.
Obesity is especially worrisome among younger Latinos.
The Huffington post previously reported on the challenges Latino children face with the higher onset of obesity. As of May 2010, 38.2 percent of Hispanic children ages 2 to 19 were overweight or obese, compared with 31.7 percent of all children, according to the Leadership for Healthy Communities.
Although Ines Calderon is not to blame, Latinos may in fact be more at risk of being overweight because they often lack access to affordable healthy foods.
According to a recent brief by the Leadership for Healthy Communities titled "Making the Connection: Linking Policies that Prevent Hunger and Childhood Obesity", an answer to the increasing obesity rates may be found in establishing healthy food financing initiatives to increase access to nutritious foods.
Jennifer Ng'andu, deputy director of the National Council of La Raza's health policy project, believes "this is not just a health and exercise issue. This is an academic and social justice issue. This is about making sure people have access to information and resources so that they can make healthy choices."
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