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April 27, 2001
Contact: Mary Kay Sones
(770) 488–6416
Phyllis McGuire
(770) 488-5025
CDC, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention
& Health Promotion

Press Release

National Diabetes Education Program to launch Hispanic/Latino Nutrition Campaign

The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) has launched a nutrition campaign aimed at Hispanics and Latinos who have diabetes or are at high risk for developing the disease, and their families.

The campaign is called "It's more than food, it's life" and its main message will be to let Hispanics/Latinos know they can continue to eat their favorite foods even if they have diabetes, if they reduce portion sizes and change preparation methods.

Diabetes is a significant concern in Hispanic populations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 percent of Hispanic adults in the United States and Puerto Rico have been diagnosed with diabetes. This rate is a staggering 50 percent higher than that of white Americans. Approximately 2.3 percent of Hispanics aged 18-44 have been diagnosed with diabetes, 12 percent of those aged 45-64, and 21.4 percent of those aged 65 and older.

As with many cultures, food is an integral part of family gatherings and community celebrations in the Hispanic/Latino culture. The new campaign urges Hispanics/Latinos and their families to consider how much and how often they eat, and how they prepare their food, but does NOT ask them to forego their favorite foods when making dietary decisions. We want to encourage Hispanics/Latinos with diabetes and their families, to continue eating the food they love; we are asking them simply to consider making a few small changes in portion sizes and how they prepare their favorite dishes," said Dr. Elizabeth Valdéz, co-chair of the NDEP's Hispanic/Latino Workgroup.For example, cooking with olive oil instead of lard and limiting salt intake by using fresh herbs and spices like cilantro to season foods are just two examples of ways that Hispanics can prepare healthier foods without sacrificing taste".

A key component of the "It's more than food, it's life" campaign is a meal planner that includes a recipe guide offering tips on healthy eating that could be enjoyed by the whole family. The recipe guide also offers suggestions on how to make healthy ingredient substitutions and ways to alter preparation of traditional foods to preserve flavor, but reduce added fat, high-fat meats, and salt.

The campaign also includes print and radio and television public service announcements (PSAs) that will target Hispanic audiences with the campaign message. The PSAs provide viewers and listeners with a toll-free number to call to receive a meal planner and recipe guide.

NDEP is jointly sponsored by CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It is a federally sponsored initiative, involving public and private partners, to improve the treatment and outcomes for people with diabetes, to promote early diagnosis, and ultimately, to prevent the onset of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes, previously called juvenile-onset diabetes, may account for 5% to 10% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes; autoimmune, genetic, and environmental factors are involved in its development. Type 2 diabetes, previously called adult-onset diabetes, may account for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes; risk factors include older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, prior history of gestational diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, physical inactivity, and race/ethnicity.

Anyone can get a free copy of the meal planner and recipe guide by calling toll free 1-877-CDC-DIAB (1-877-232-3422), which is answered in English and Spanish. For more information on diabetes, visit the Web at or

The CDC protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes health living through strong partnerships with local, national and international organizations.

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This page last reviewed April 27, 2001

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention