Health Net Working to Reduce High Rates of Diabetes among Hispanics
April Is National Minority Health Month
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health - which sponsors National Minority Health Month - in the United States, Hispanics are almost twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be diagnosed with diabetes. It also reports that in the United States, Hispanics have higher rates of end-stage renal disease caused by diabetes, and are 50 percent more likely to die from diabetes than non-Hispanic whites.
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in the United States, Hispanic women and men both have greater risks of developing diabetes in their lifetimes, compared to non-Hispanic whites. The CDC also notes that Hispanic Americans are at particularly high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and that diabetes is the fifth-leading cause of death among that group.
"Clearly, there is a health disparity in relation to Hispanics and diabetes, and Health Net is committed to narrowing this gap," says Jonathan Scheff, M.D., chief medical officer for Health Net, Inc. "We've created several programs designed to help our Hispanic members - as well as the Hispanic community in general - reduce their risks of developing diabetes."
For example, Health Net uses its Promotores Health Network, consisting of more than 100 Spanish-speaking community members who distribute health-education information, to educate the public about diabetes prevention. Additionally:
Health Net holds "Know Your Numbers" events, which help increase awareness of chronic-disease prevention;
Health Net developed a "Diabetes and Latino Cultures" pocket guide for health-care providers;
Health Net hosts monthly diabetes-education classes at its Community Solutions Centers;
Health Net distributes a cookbook providing healthier versions of traditional Latino dishes; and
Health Net offers the Fit Families for Life program, promoting healthier lifestyles through better nutrition and more physical activity.
Health Net's commitment to reducing health care disparities was recognized nationally last year, Scheff said, when it received the National Committee for Quality Assurance's Multicultural Health Care Distinction, which is awarded to "organizations that engage in efforts to improve culturally and linguistically appropriate services and reduce healthcare disparities."
Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
As part of its outreach efforts to the Hispanic community, Health Net is sharing the following recommendations - developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Diabetes Education Program - designed to help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes:
If you are overweight, aim to lose at least 5 percent to 7 percent of your current weight. Two keys to preventing type 2 diabetes are losing weight by making healthy food choices and being physically active at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
Make healthy food choices every day, such as eating brown rice instead of white rice, or drinking low-fat or fat-free milk. Choose carbs that have lots of fiber, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
Cook with less oil and butter. Instead, broil or bake with non-stick spray or low-sodium broth. Use herbs and seasonings - instead of salt - to add flavor to low-fat dishes.
Cut down on food-portion sizes. The portion size that you are used to eating may be equal to two or three standard servings, which could double or triple the calories and fat.
Choose water instead of sweetened fruit drinks and soda. Drink a glass of water 10 minutes before meals to reduce hunger.
Build physical activity into your day. Pick an activity you enjoy and that will keep you moving, such as walking, soccer, bike riding, or swimming. Take the stairs instead of the elevator to your office. Deliver a message in person to a coworker instead of sending an e-mail.
Medical Advice Disclaimer
The information provided is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for professional medical care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other health provider for any questions you may have regarding your medical condition and follow your health care provider's instructions.
About Health Net
Health Net, Inc. is a publicly traded managed care organization that delivers managed health care services through health plans and government-sponsored managed care plans. Its mission is to help people be healthy, secure and comfortable. Health Net provides and administers health benefits to approximately 5.4 million individuals across the country through group, individual, Medicare (including the Medicare prescription drug benefit commonly referred to as "Part D"), Medicaid, U.S. Department of Defense ("Department of Defense" or "DoD"), including TRICARE, and Veterans Affairs programs. Through its subsidiaries, Health Net also offers behavioral health, substance abuse and employee assistance programs, managed health care products related to prescription drugs, managed health care product coordination for multi-region employers, and administrative services for medical groups and self-funded benefits programs.
For more information on Health Net, Inc., please visit Health Net's website at www.healthnet.com.
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