Archive for January, 2012

Diabetes and Its Awful Toll Quietly Emerge as a Crisis By N. R. KLEINFIELD

The Diabetes article is a very important wake-up call. Diabetes is the result of our over processed foods and hours spent on the computer or watching tv instead of exercising and eating right. Since Diabetes seems to be a disease we can prevent and keep away from our children by maintaining healthy lifestyles. Children being impacted by this disease is the worst part. They should not suffer through the pain of a disease like Diabetes. Type 2 is spurred by being lazy and obese so to better our children we must make sure they eat proper foods and their schools provide them with nutritious meals and daily exercise This scares me because I fear my fathers health. Both my parents are immigrants and the article states, “where newcomers eating American diets for
the first time are especially vulnerable.”

The connection to diabetes being a form of genocide resides in the people truly suffering from the disease. The family without enough money to feed themselves and their children expensive fresh foods, has to resort to cheap highly processed foods.
High poverty rates in New york and the increased cases of diabetes in New york compared to the rest of the United States proves my point.The ethnic groups marginalized by this disease are not being helped and in way purposely ignored due to the systematic oppression to these groups.

“New York’s poverty rate, 20.3 percent, is much higher than the nation’s, 12.7
percent.York’s poverty rate, 20.3 percent, is much higher than the nation’s, 12.7
percent.African-Americans and Latinos, particularly Mexican-Americans and
Puerto Ricans, incur diabetes at close to twice the rate of whites.”

The article states also the minimal amount of money spent on finding a cure for diabetes. The budget is a joke. How can they not work on a cure and better the lives and life expectancy of our future children. With a relation to AIDS in the quiet and scary way this epidemic is upon it and Diabetes needs to be taken seriously. I take it seriously and feel very motivated to work out today. I found a website on how to stay healthy.

Ironically this ad was shown to me about diabetes. There is controversy around the actor and his leg but any media will bring attention to the real big issue of our declining health and this rapidly growing disease.




My dad is always on me and my brother’s case when it comes to our health. He is always nagging us about eating healthier and working out and he’ll really go after my brother because he is overweight. After reading these and other articles I started to worry because my family isn’t so healthy. I know for a fact heart disease runs on my dad’s side of the family and my mother’s side there is diabetes and hypertension, and that there is a higher risk in being diagnosed with diabetes if you are Latino.

In the article, “Diabetes and its Awful Toll Quietly Emerge as a Crisis,” I was surprised at the statistics and numbers they had. Of the many patients the Montefiore Medical center sees, “nearly half the patients are there for some trouble precipitated by the disease (diabetes)” (1). As the article states, since it’s a “quiet” disease, it “provokes little of the fear or prevention as inspired by AIDS.” If the costs, either in medical bills or quality of life, were blasted everyday people might realize that by simply changing their eating habits or exercising 30 minutes a day, it would be a whole lot easier than having to deal with paying $30,400 for an amputation.

There are many factors that come into play when one is diagnosed with a disease such as diabetes. There are foods that one eats that might influence the way our body and genes react to it, such as “nutritional epigenetics,” and there are “genetic and socioeconomic forces” (5). But I feel there needs to more awareness in the matter of diabetes, because it is an epidemic, and an epidemic targeting Latinos, and poor communities. With “insurers [shunning] diabetics as too expensive” preventative measures need to be enacted because if help is being denied to those with the disease (a disease that correlates highly with poverty), the poor are more likely to suffer with hospitalizations and bills that they will have trouble paying. There is in a sense a “negligent destruction” taking place in these poor communities.



More information on Latinos and Diabetes:



My whole family for generations have had to deal with Type 2 diabetes and it’s effects. From liver transplants to kidney dialysis, many of my older relatives have had to face those unforeseen consequences. I see my father and his brother and sisters have to be overcautious of their lifestyle, taking numerous medicines and injections of insulin on a daily basis as well. As a Filipino, the article “Diabetes and It’s Awful Toll Quietly Emerge as a Crisis” opened my eyes to its skewed demographic. Seeing the number of victims increase outside of my own family makes me more aware of this disease in our country.

Diabetes can be seen as a “cultural genocide”, especially because a large number of victims are Asians or Pacific Islanders. The article describes a “thrifty gene” in these people that came to them during the farming season when they had to stock up on fat so they wouldn’t starve during long periods without food. The number is increasing within these races, especially because it can effect them at a lower weight. Also, type 2 diabetes can be passed on to their children at an earlier age, even with the child’s denial of it. It is difficult to convince a group of people who aren’t willing to put in the effort that they must maintain a healthier lifestyle through dieting and exercise. To read more on how diabetes can be a cultural genocide, go here:

Merilou Salazar

Diabetes: A Cultural Genocide?

In The New York Times, N.R. Kleinfield discusses the dangers of diabetes in the United States in the article, “Diabetes and Its Awful Toll Quiet Emerge as a Crisis”. Before I reading the article, I always felt that diabetes was such a paradox. While many are suffering from malnutrition in other countries, Americans must deal with diseases associated with overeating. However, the article brought to my attention that demographics play a role in the prevalence of diabetes; those in poorer neighborhoods have higher rates of diabetes and rates of diabetes are increasing all across the board. Priorities in terms of funding are given to illnesses that aren’t as deadly and youth in America have that mindset that they’re immune.

However, diabetes isn’t only a problem for developed countries. In 2006, Professor Paul Zimmet of the International Diabetes Institute at Monash University made the controversial claim that “ethnic populations… were facing ‘cultural genocide’ from diabetes.” 1/4 adults in the Pacific and North America are affected by diabetes. With high prevalence in indigenous Americans, Pacific Islanders, and migrant Asian Indians, awareness about diabetes and its consequences must be addressed worldwide.

Fortunately (or tragically), diabetes is a preventable epidemic.

Read more about it:

-Jessica Heng

Diabetes: A bona fide epidemic

I was surprised to learn about the serious effects of a common disease that is usually misrepresented as a benign condition. N.R. Kleinfield’s analysis of diabetes in Bronx, New York, shows how diabetes is rapidly spreading across communities, comparable to an endemic, but previous notions of the disease may be preventing us from treating diabetes with the seriousness that it deserves. Diabetes, a disease with no cure, affects 1 in 3 Americans and 1 in 2 Latinos. The higher statistics of Latinos can be attributed to epigenetic factors including diet and average income. Diabetes is a deadly disease which is the main cause for blindness in adults, and insulin-dependent diabetics even face job discrimination as they cannot enlist in the military or become commercial pilots. Diabetes can be diagnosed in two categories: Type I and Type II. Type I diabetes is when the immune system attacks insulin-producing pancreas cells while Type II diabetes is when the pancreas does not produce sufficient insulin or when the body cannot use it properly. Insulin is an important hormone that transports glucose into cells to use for cellular metabolism. In diabetes, glucose collects in the bloodstream while cells do not receive enough energy to carry out regular functions. Type II which affects 90-95% of diabetics, is often offset by poor diet and lack of exercise.

In a world where processed food items are becoming more prevalent and active lifestyles are eased by modern technology and conveniences, people are eating larger amounts of sugar without burning as much energy, leading to increased sugar in the bloodstream. The problem, this type of lifestyle is becoming common, so that its effects (diabetes) are becoming accepted as part of life when it can very well be prevented by a healthy, active lifestyle. Although certain people are more predisposed to the disease, society in general is lax about diabetes prevention and spreading awareness about its side-effects. Since the disease disproportionately affects those with lower incomes, it doesn’t seem to hold as much importance in the media’s health agenda, and could therefore be seen as systematic violence against the poor. This idea of systematic violence allows one group to take advantage of another, which could be seen as a form of mild and unintentional genocide. Those with power are not as pushed to spread awareness about diabetes and its effects because in most people’s eyes, it is a disease that can be prevented, when most people who are diagnosed have the disease because of an undesirable lifestyle that is difficult to get out of.


For more statistics on diabetes:


Social Stigma

Murphy’s, “The Damaged Self” and Zhou’s article on the people in China dealing with the stigmas that deal with having AIDS/HIV. Both reading focus on the perception of society on people with certain illness. Murphy’s life as a a paraplegic shows the problems with society when people are not constructed to their standard of normal. Rather than acknowledge the problems and educate ourselves we tend to ignore the differences and not address them. Reading Murphys account makes me realize how people with disablitlies must feel when people don’t make eye contact with them and are fearful to offend them. It is like an elephant in the room, this made me realize that now I will make an effort to talk to someone with a disabilities and ask them how they feel and ask the questions that I really feel rather than avoid them. They must avoid the feeling of shame and the only way for that is for society to disregard the idea of normal behavior or appearance.
The social stigma for the Chinese people follows the traditional guidelines of not being slutty because the view of sex in that society is seen as something dirty and associations to homosexuality. There also is the outrageous fear of it being contagious. Without knowledge or education people are not able to understand the disabilities and the reactions. Some physical disabilities have no mental effects so the people are just like everyone else but not everyone understands that. Society constructs stigmas that effect people mentally forcing them to question one’s self.

Modernity, Cultural Reasoning, and the Institutionalization of Social Inequality: Racializing Death in a Venezuelan Cholera Epidemic

The article,”Modernity, Cultural Reasoning, and the Institutionalization of Social Inequality: Racializing Death in a Venezuelan Cholera Epidemic,” by Charles L. Briggs the effects of culture on the health disparate such as the genocide that occurred upon the people of Venezula through a cholera epidemic. The epidemic was blamed on the cultural and social beliefs about the native people that were dying. The natives were the “Warao” people living in Delta Amacura.Their poverty, diet, lifestyle was used as an excuse to explain the disease. I believe this is not an intentional genocide but rather the lack of knowledge and a socialized belief about different groups and their culture.
When I traveled to Ethiopia I witnessed a much smaller scale of the a group of people characterized by where they come from.Gondor was a small village that was known for its poverty. Whenever people would talk about diseases, you would catch it in Gondor because the people or the region was just not clean. The sanitation is not the fault of the place but the government for not aiding the people. My mother came from Gondor so when I went to visit I was able to see that the advances of technology in the city had no effect on the people living in the village. How can sanitation advances be used in a city full of poverty with no means of access to better facilities or better hygiene.

Reading up on cholera and the diseases effect in Venzuela, I found that the disease death roll is still risiing.