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Death and Diabetes in the City of Angels

ByCrossFit June 22, 2020

The soda industry has made billions while spreading Type 2 diabetes in low-income communities and communities of color.

In East L.A., healthy food options are hard to come by, but sugary beverages are cheap and easy to find.

Sergio Martinez lives in East L.A. and has witnessed how diets high in sugar lead to chronic diseases that ravage families. His grandmother died of Type 2 diabetes, and his mother and father are fighting the disease. Most of his many relatives have diabetes. He’s trying to break the pattern in his family while making a healthy lifestyle accessible to his entire community.

Martinez started doing CrossFit workouts with friends in his garage, but as more and more people came to train, the group needed a dedicated space. Now he’s the owner of Backyard CrossFit, and he’s helping pull people out of the endless cycle of sugar-fueled disease—one athlete at a time.

“We have designed our communities for disease. … It’s time to turn all that around and design our communities for health,” says Harold Goldstein, executive director of Public Health Advocates.

CrossFit affiliates are in unique possession of a simple solution to the chronic-disease epidemic: off the carbs, off the couch. At more than 14,500 gyms around the world, trainers are curing disease by helping clients become active and eat better.

In East L.A.—a “junk-food swamp,” Goldstein says—Martinez and his fellow Backyard CrossFit coaches are at the forefront of a health revolution.

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