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When it comes to healthy eating, do Latinos value health or convenience?

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The correlation between lifestyle-related health situations and U.S. Latinos is well documented.  Over 55% of the U.S. Latino population is overweight or obese.  U.S. Latino children are nearly twice as likely as white non-Hispanics to be overweight.  Being overweight and obese can set an individual up for serious health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and certain cancers.

With this knowledge easily accessible, one would think that U.S. Latinos – especially tech-hungry millennials – would be on top of their health game, starting with a healthy eating.  This isn’t necessarily the case.  Despite knowing the perks and results of healthy eating, for many millennials in general, convenience is king.

In fact, U.S.-born Latinos are especially more likely to opt for fast food or pop in a frozen meal.  According to Hispanic Adult Millennials Living the Next Normal: Age of Uncertainty, a 2012 survey conducted by Tr3s, 9 out of 10 U.S. adult Latinos eat fast food.  (This is a vast difference from foreign born Latinos, who are nearly 90% less likely.)  Furthermore, U.S. Latinos are very into snacking and mass merchandizers like stores and restaurants are their most likely source for these snacks.

Why are these findings significant?  In today’s busy world, thirty-something Latinos value saving time and convenience.  Not all of the news is bad news.  In fact, one of the restaurants Latino millennials tended to deem as “cool” is Subway – a fast food chain that offers plenty of healthier options while still being affordable.  Millennials also tended to opt for fast food more often for breakfast and lunch, while valuing sitting down with family and friends at dinner.

What can U.S. Latinos do to eat healthier while maintaining their convenience-driven lifestyle?  Scheduling time at the beginning of each week to cook and prep meal options for the rest of the week is an excellent way to save time and money.  Cooking at home is the best in terms of health because there is no question as to what ingredients have been used or how much additional ingredients like salt or butter have been added.  In cases where fast food is absolutely necessary, opt for healthier options.  The majority of national chain restaurants have added options for the health-conscious.  The most important step is to take control of ourselves.

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

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