Leticia Moreinos Schwartz to promote Type 2 diabetes awareness among Hispanics

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — Drug maker Merck has hired celebrity chef and cookbook author Leticia Moreinos Schwartz as a spokeswoman to reach out to Hispanics living with Type 2 diabetes, the drug maker said Friday.

The company has launched a campaign titled Cuida tu Diabetes, Cuida tu Corazon (Taking Diabetes to Heart) to educate Hispanics on small lifestyle changes. Schwartz will visit several cities to show how traditional dishes can be made healthy without compromising taste while educating people with the disease on how to live a healthier lifestyle. Schwartz will also take part in the American Diabetes Association's Feria de Salud at Calle Ocho event in Miami on Sunday.

"My grandfather died from complications from his Type 2 diabetes, so I know how important it is for people living with Type 2 diabetes to manage their disease to help reduce their risk of serious complications, such as heart disease and stroke," Schwartz said. "In the Hispanic community, we all take to heart our families, our food, our culture and our community activities, and diabetes impacts all of these aspects of our lives."

According to Merck, Type 2 diabetes affects Hispanic Americans more than other ethnic groups, and they have a 66% higher risk of being diagnosed with it than non-Hispanic whites; nearly 12% are diagnosed with diabetes, one of the highest rates among any ethnic group.