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University of Arizona aims to reduce heart disease in diabetic Hispanics

(Flickr/jasleen_kaur)

PHOENIX — Reducing cardiovascular disease and complications among Hispanic patients with diabetes will be the focus of new research by the University of Arizona.

Tomas Nuño, assistant professor of public health practice and transnational research at UofA, is leading the three-year research project.

He said 100 Hispanic diabetes patients will go through interventions focused on healthy diets, healthy weight and physical activity for nearly two months.

“They will also be receiving information on the risks of cardiovascular disease, information on blood pressure maintenance and cholesterol levels,” he said.

The interventions, set to begin early next year, will be administered by community health workers at health centers in Nogales and Tucson.

After 13 weeks, participants will complete a series of questionnaires and measurements. Nuño said he will analyze whether or not participants made health and lifestyle changes.

“What we hope to see is less cardiovascular complications, improved health, improved weight control, and improved blood pressure,” he said.

Nuño said one of the reasons why he decided to focus his research on Hispanics with diabetes is due to the prevalence of the disease among this population. Hispanics are almost twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to get diagnosed with diabetes.

“Diabetes among Hispanics is a growing epidemic,” Nuño said.

Nuño recently received a $437,000 diversity supplemental grant to work on this three-year research project. The funding is part of a $2.9 million grant that UofA’s Zuckerman College of Public Health received from the National Institutes of Health in 2015.

The first research findings could be published by early 2019.

Nuño said he hopes the knowledge generated from his research will help “develop large-scale public health interventions in Arizona to reduce cardiovascular disease disparities among Hispanic patients with diabetes.”

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