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Latinos are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. This Phoenix program takes a community approach

Latinos are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So, how do you educate a community about their risk?

It starts by creating a bilingual, culturally-grounded approach to prevention. And that’s exactly what Every Little Step Counts aims to do. Elvia Lish is the director for the Ivy Center for Family Wellness at St. Vincent De Paul.

"We started the program because here at St. Vincent Paul's medical clinic, we were seeing a higher population, children, youth being referred to the program for obesity related conditions," she explained. 

Lish says factors like income, access to health care, dietary habits and family history tend to put Latinos at higher risk for Type 2 diabetes. Every Little Step Counts is a yearlong program where families learn about nutrition and exercise, and so far it seems to be making a difference.

 "Sixty-seven percent of the participants with pre-diabetes were no longer pre-diabetic after participating in Every Little Step Counts," Lish said.

This prevention program is free. 

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KJZZ senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.