November is National Diabetes Month, and Latinos should take note—though diabetes affects about 8 percent of the U.S. population, nearly 12 percent of Latinos have been diagnosed with the disease, reports Fox News Latino.

Latinos are facing disproportionately high rates of diagnosis. Why? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Latinos face barriers to care and live in areas with a prevalence of “food deserts”—where few places sell fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, social and cultural factors (such as distrust of doctors, cultural bias against testing) influence diabetes awareness and diagnoses.

All these factors increase the risk of disease. According to the CDC, Latino females born in 2000 have more than a 50 percent likelihood of developing diabetes in their lifetime, compared with only about 31 percent for non-Latino white and 49 percent for African-American females. And Latino males born in 2000 have a 45 percent risk of developing diabetes, compared with more than 26 percent and 40 percent for non-Latino white and African-American males.

But diabetes is preventable, and the power lies in your hands. Current CDC data suggest that 79 million Americans have prediabetes—the condition that leads to diabetes 2. However, stepping up the exercise and losing just 5 percent of body weight can reduce the risk of developing diabetes or heart attack by almost 60 percent.

To learn more, go to the American Diabetes Association website.