Ethnicity shapes our identity and sense of belonging to people and social environments around us. In the United States, the rate of diabetes among Hispanics/Latinos is 130% higher than among non-Hispanic whites. Also, the risk of diabetes is different among different Hispanic/Latino groups based on their ethnic origins. How long a person has lived in the U.S. also impacts diabetes risk. For example, the rate of diabetes among Hispanics/Latinos from Mexico and Puerto Rico is close to 20%, compared to people from South America and Cuba (10%). Ethnic identity can also predict mental well-being.

Education and health

Researchers studied the link between ethnic identity and diabetes among Hispanics/Latino adults. They looked at whether education impacts diabetes risk. Using data from 1,746 people, they found that Hispanics/Latinos with a strong sense of ethnic identity had a higher risk of diabetes among those with 13 to 15 years of education (a high school diploma and some college). However, people with more than 16 years of education (college degree) had lower diabetes risk. This means that ethnic identity and diabetes risk are related, but a person’s education level can protect against developing diabetes.

Minorities are diverse

These results show us the importance of creating health interventions that reflect the diverse mental and educational experiences of different groups of Hispanics/Latinos. Understanding diabetes and minorities requires us to think about diversity within ethnic/racial minority groups.


Photo by Mil Familias 2020.