Beautiful but deadly: Latinos’ curves put them at risk

CNN: October 17, 2013

Editor’s note: This story is part three in a three-part series about health issues in the Latino community in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Read CNN’s other stories about the stigma that affects Latinos with mental health, and the “Hispanic Paradox” that exists for those fighting cancer.

(CNN) – Elma Dieppa wonders if her cousin Helen Casillas would still be alive today if she had been more aware of how her weight contributed to her diabetes.

“She refused to take care of herself by not watching what she ate or exercising,” Dieppa wrote in a blog post honoring the woman she describes as the “life of the party” — funny, beautiful and genuine.

Casillas died of a heart attack at age 44.

Although Casillas lived with diabetes for years and worked in the medical field, her perception of her own disease was skewed, Dieppa said. Casillas told her cousin that the doctor wanted to take an aggressive approach to her weight loss, but Casillas didn’t believe she was obese.

“This is the problem within the Hispanic community,” Dieppa wrote on the blog. “We love our curves, but the line between beautiful and deadly curves is blurred.” Read More