Investigating Nutrition Based Non-Communicable Chronic Disease in Mexico

Author: Claire Aurand
Major: Biochemistry
Approved: Fall 2018
Status: Completed

This project uses evidence-based practices to investigate the epidemic in Mexico revolving around nutrition-based non-communicable diseases. Diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes are among Mexico’s leading causes of death, which likely correlate to the factors of high fasting plasma glucose and high body-mass index being the leading risk factors of death and disability combined. These ideas can be aligned to global disparities revolving around the issues of an increased risk of non-communicable disease, which arise typically from low socioeconomic status and diminished access to treatment and resources. The main goal of the research is to analyze ethnographic data taken from observation and interviews in Merida, Mexico. Research was conducted at CEMANUD – a government-funded nutrition and diabetes center, where the organization conducted a variety of different activities regarding education and implementation of good health and nutritional practice. Health disparities were examined in different contexts, as the organization works both in the center of the city as well as the more rural outskirts. Prior studies have indicated a desire for a nutritional transition in Latin American countries, but many are not at the goal of “behavioral change”. This change is the principal stage of change that can create a difference in health behavior, which is necessary for a serious difference in overall health. Merida has developed a method at CEMANUD that compares to this behavioral change, as every Wednesday they have “La Mesa de Atención”. This event is located in the heart of the city where anyone in the community can stop by for a brief nutritional consultation free of charge, where conditions like blood pressure and blood glucose levels are tested.