The Diabetes "Pandemic" Danger Zone


Several dozen residents of this southwestern Arizona community crowd a seminar room to hear Dr. Bonifacio González Castro, vice-director of the general hospital just across the border, talk about how to manage diabetes.

As he starts, González removes his glasses and asks in Spanish: “Are a few of you diabetic?”

Many laugh. Nearly everyone in the audience, comprised mostly of older Hispanics, raises a hand.

“Well, then you bet we have a problem,” González says.

Diabetes is a growing problem among all ethnic, age and socio-economic groups, but experts, officials and advocates say it has reached alarming proportions among Hispanics living near the U.S.-Mexico border, driven by factors including obesity, poverty, a lack of health coverage and poor diet.

González urges his audience of nearly 50 to seek medical advice on the disease, start taking care of themselves and control their weight.

“I say that walking at least 30 minutes a day, we can do it,” he tells them.