The obesity crisis is an epidemic that impacts people of all races, religions, ages and geographical locations, but there are some populations that are at a higher risk of developing this deadly disease. Hispanic and Latino populations in the United States are rapidly becoming the group of Americans hardest hit by obesity.
Data from the Office Of Minority Health suggests that at least 30% of Latinos and Hispanics overall are morbidly obese, and 78% of Mexican-American women are overweight or obese. The same is also true for Hispanic children, who are nearly two times more likely than white children to become obese. Even worse, the data indicates that 81% of Hispanic men surveyed in 2011 were obese or overweight.
Dr. Dirk likes to say that obese folks are both overnourished and undernourished at the same time—they have excess of calories and a deficit of nutrition. In addition to obesity, Latinos and Hispanics are also disproportionately likely to suffer from malnutrition, even if they’re eating an enormous amount of calories each day. The prevalence of fast food and other high-calorie, low-nutrient options is bigger than ever, and Latinos and Hispanics often have to seek out healthy options (of which there are few) at the drive-through on their way home from work.
With obesity levels this staggering, obesity is a growing concern for Hispanics and Latinos who are trying to stay healthy enough to work, raise their families and live happy lives. It can be difficult to work toward a healthy lifestyle when your family is constantly on the go, but it is crucial that Hispanics recognize the importance of eating healthy, exercising, and when necessary, weight loss surgery.
In conjunction with a healthy diet and physical activity, weight loss surgery can treat a range of weight-related conditions, including diabetes. People of Hispanic and Latino descent are at an extremely high risk of developing diabetes, especially Type II diabetes. Factors ranging from poor diet to work stress influence this risk, but weight loss surgery can be extremely successful in treating diabetes.
Dr. Dirk often feels sad that the Hispanic community does not embrace obesity surgery, which can potentially be life-saving. Any fear of surgery should be replaced by the fear of disability from diabetes and high blood pressure—not to mention sleep apnea, acid reflux, high cholesterol, joint pain, back pain and erectile dysfunction. Treating obesity at a younger age gives patients the chance to live a longer, healthier life without the worry and cost of doctor’s visits, medicines and blood tests.
As one of the few bilingual bariatric surgeons in Dallas, Dr. Dirk has a unique understanding of the health needs of the Hispanic community. He’s passionate about working within his own community to help people live their best, healthiest lives possible. If you’re ready to shed the weight and move toward a healthier lifestyle, there’s no one better to ask for help than Dr. Dirk.
If bariatric surgery is the best option for your health, Dr. Dirk can help you build a manageable plan that results in weight loss and, potentially, a longer and happier life. Living better doesn’t mean giving up all the things you love, especially when you’ve got an expert like Dr. Dirk in your corner.
Still have questions about weight loss surgery? Learn more from Dr. Dirk here.