Opera Singer Raises Awareness of Celiac Disease in Hispanic Americans

Arturo Chacón-CruzOpera Tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz performing at a Beyond Celiac benefit in 2019 (Submitted Image)

PHILADELPHIA, PA — Two-thirds (67%) of Hispanic Americans still lack information and awareness of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, according to a nationwide benchmark survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Beyond Celiac, the leading catalyst for a celiac disease cure. Renowned opera tenor and Beyond Celiac Ambassador Arturo Chacón-Cruz, a native of Sonora, Mexico, wants to change these statistics.

Chacón-Cruz, who along with his mother and son have celiac disease, wants to help other Hispanics know the symptoms and process for getting diagnosed and treated for celiac disease. The survey showed that only 36% of Hispanic Americans know that half or more of people with celiac disease are undiagnosed, and as few as 21% know that celiac disease often runs in families. The only current way to manage celiac disease is through a strict gluten-free diet – foods free from wheat, rye and barley. If left untreated, celiac disease, a serious autoimmune condition that causes damage to the small intestine resulting in debilitating symptoms, can lead to a number of long-term health problems, including infertility and some types of cancer. Celiac disease affects one in 133 Americans.

“We know many in our community lack awareness about celiac disease, and I hope to change that so everyone with celiac disease can receive the diagnosis and treatment they deserve,” said Chacón-Cruz. “Food is such a big part of Hispanic and Latino culture and heritage. We can still live a full life and enjoy a shared meal with family and friends, we just need to change the way we eat until there is a cure.”

According to the survey, only about half (52%) of Hispanics know that following a strict gluten-free diet is currently the only way someone with celiac disease can control it.

“Celiac disease is a misunderstood and misdiagnosed disease,” Beyond Celiac CEO Alice Bast said. “We believe it’s important that all Americans become more aware of celiac disease and its symptoms so they get an accurate diagnosis and the treatment needed to live a healthy life,” Bast said

“I was so sick before I got diagnosed, my life was difficult as a professional opera singer who has to spend so much time traveling for work,” said Chacón-Cruz. “Now knowing that I have to stay strictly gluten-free, I have a different challenge with all the travel I do, but it’s also hard for people like my mother and son who don’t travel as much. That’s why I’m working with Beyond Celiac to help raise awareness and accelerate research for treatments and a cure so these problems don’t exist.”

Chacón-Cruz began partnering with Beyond Celiac in 2019 to help the organization raise awareness and to generate support for research for treatments and a cure. Using his platform in the world of opera, he has raised visibility and is featured in a video in which he tells his story and why he is so passionate about the work of Beyond Celiac.

A report on the survey results, The Mystery of Celiac Disease: The Need for Greater Awareness and Accelerating the Quest for a Cure can be found online with the 2022 Beyond Celiac Survey Report. The report also presents the facts about the disease, and outlines how Beyond Celiac is taking steps to accelerate the quest for a cure.

The Harris Poll Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Beyond Celiac from February 8-10, 2022 among 2,039 adults ages 18 and older. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within + 2.8 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, contact Beyond Celiac.

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