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Colberg-Ochs Reaches Out to Latino Community in New Book

Exercise physiologist Sheri Colberg-Ochs, professor of exercise science, sport, physical education and recreation at Old Dominion University, reaches out to a unique segment of the population in her latest book on diabetes, "Diabetes? No Problema! A Latino's Guide to Living Well with Diabetes."

Written as a guide to diabetes management and prevention for everyone with a Latino/Hispanic heritage, this is the author's eighth book on the subject of diabetes, a disease she has lived with since the age of 4, and healthy lifestyles.

The current version is in English, but the publisher, Da Capo Press, is actively seeking a foreign publisher interested in translating the book and distributing it in Spanish throughout the Americas, Colberg-Ochs said. Co-author of the book is Mexican-born diabetes physician and researcher, Dr. Leonel Villa-Caballero, who is also the director of the Latino initiative, "Taking Control of Your Diabetes" (http://www.tcoyd.org), based in San Diego.

"A conservative estimate of the number of diabetic Americans by the year 2030 is over 30 million, but it's likely to turn out to be much higher than that. Currently over two and a half million Latinos (about 10 percent of the people afflicted with diabetes in the U.S.) are believed to have diabetes as well," the authors write in the introduction.

They further note that, as an ethnic group, Latinos comprise the country's largest minority group and have the second highest incidence of diabetes in the United States, behind Native Americans.

"Unfortunately, all Latinos share an increased incidence of diabetes regardless of their ethnic mix, and diabetes complications like heart disease, vision loss and nerve damage often occur at an earlier age. Does that mean the situation is hopeless if you're Latino? Absolutely not," says Colberg-Ochs.

"Diabetes? No Problema!" includes stories of Latinos around the world who are living well with diabetes, like Gloria Rodriguez from Washington, D.C. (originally from Puerto Rico); Manny Hernandez (type 1 diabetic founder of a Latino diabetes social network, (http://TuDiabetes.com); Maria de los Angeles Martinez de Pozos from Mexico; and Gladys Rojas de Chacin from Venezuela.

The book teaches Latinos "everything they need to know to take on diabetes and live la vida buena despite having diabetes, or simply how to prevent getting this disease in the first place," Colberg-Ochs says. "Fighting this insidious disease is going to only result from greater awareness and education about diabetes spread person to person, community to community - using the Latino tradition to its fullest."

Colberg-Ochs is also hopeful that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor can advocate for diabetic Latinos as well, "particularly since she herself has been dealing successfully with type 1 diabetes since the age of 8."

The book's foreword is written by Latina diabetes activist and celebrity, Chef LaLa, who is known for her delicious and healthy Latino recipes and cookbooks and for acting as a diabetes advocate within the Latino community.

Manny Hernandez, president of the Diabetes Hands Foundation, notes that Colberg-Ochs' book "explains diabetes in a way that anyone raised in a Latino household can relate to. … Reading this book and applying its wisdom will bring us one step closer to a long and healthy life."

A prolific author, Colberg-Ochs turned an exercise guide she developed in the late 1990s into her first book, "The Diabetic Athlete: Prescriptions for Exercise and Sports" (2001). That was followed by: "Diabetes-Free Kids: A Take-Charge Plan for Preventing and Treating Type 2 Diabetes in Children" (2005); "The 7 Step Diabetes Fitness Plan: Living Well and Being Fit with Diabetes, No Matter Your Weight" (2006); "50 Secrets of the Longest Living People with Diabetes" (2007); "The Science of Staying Young" (2007); "Matt Hoover's Guide to Life, Love, and Losing Weight: Winner of 'The Biggest Loser' TV Show!" (2008); and "Diabetic Athlete's Handbook: Your Guide to Peak Performance" (2009).

In addition to her books, she has authored well over 175 research and educational articles on exercise, fitness, diabetes, healthy lifestyles, aging and nutrition.

Colberg-Ochs, who is also an adjunct professor of internal medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School, leads a team of researchers that received a $600,000 Clinical Research Award last year from the American Diabetes Association. Two other ODU faculty members, Steven Morrison from the College of Health Sciences and David Swain from the Darden College of Education, are collaborating with her.

The project, "Protective Health Effects of Differing Types and Intensities of Exercise Training in Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes," is funded for three years and also involves researchers Drs. Aaron Vinik and Henri Parson from EVMS.

For more information about Colberg-Ochs, visit her Web site at http://www.shericolberg.com.

"Diabetes? No Problema!" is available at the University Village Bookstore.

This article was posted on: July 16, 2009

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