Friday, March 29, 2013

Diabetes in African American Communities

There has been increased prevalence of Diabetes among African Americans 18 year and older in the United States between 2002 -2010. Diabetes among the America is an important topic of discussion because it is predicted that the rates of the disease will increase as it is evident that more Americans are becoming obese. This disease is even more of an issue within the African American community being that despite being a minority within the US, the rates of diabetes within this group are almost 2 times more likely than non-Hispanic whites (Disease and African Americans).  Diabetes is 7th leading cause of death in Americans and the cause of major issues such as heart disease and stroke. Diabetes also is a contributing factor to other health problems like hypertension, kidney disease, blindness, and even limb amputations. The cost of diabetes related care is also reason to address this public health issue as healthcare spending is an important topic within US politics.
There are various avenues that can be assessed to determine why this health issue is occurring. Indicators, both indirect and direct, contribute to understanding the factors that play a role in diabetes among this group. According to the CDC’s 2003 National Fact Sheet, in 2002, “11.4% of all non-Hispanic blacks aged twenty years or older have diabetes.” In addition to this, the United States’ Diabetes Crisis among African Americans: Today and Future Trends reports that 5,547,700 of 40, 951, 000 (roughly 13.5%) African Americans had diabetes in 2010 and projected a growth to about 20% in 2025. From this data it is apparent that the trend of this disease is definitely increasing.  This data is strong evidence in that it also gives future predictions if actions are not taken against combating this disease.
In today’s American society and culture, life is moving by fast. It’s no doubt that there is only so much time in the day, and with adults having such busy lives they may have to make decisions that can later on impact their health. There are many players that can greatly affect the non-healthy choices that are made that can cause diabetes. Social culture and education all indicate the trend of diabetes in the African American community. The idea of “Soul Food” has long been embedded in the lifestyles of many African Americans. This food, although is just a heavenly taste, is not particularly nutritious because of the way that it may be prepared. A study of African Americans in California showed that fast food restaurants were most preferred among eat out dining options at 29% (Cowling 2). Although the data is a strong inclination of poor diet options, the data was self-reported and may have included bias. Not only does food choice factor into the big picture, but education levels perhaps. In a press release by the CDC, it was noted that, “2007-2010, women 25 years of age and over with less than a bachelor’s degree were more likely to be obese (39 percent-43 percent)” (Press Release). This is just one statistic that shows that those who are less educated are more likely to be obese. Obesity is on the road to diabetes. Other factors that can be evaluated include socioeconomic status, fast food restaurant density within urban communities, unemployment rates, food deserts, obesity, prices of healthy food versus unhealthy food, family history and access to healthcare prior to diagnosis.
"Press Release." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 May 2012. Web. 28 Mar. 2013
"2003 National Diabetes Fact Sheet." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. N.p., 20 May 2011. Web. 27 Mar. 2013.
"Diabetes and African Americans." The Office of Minority Health. US Department of Health and Human Services, 28 Aug. 2012. Web. 30 Mar. 2013.

"United States’ Diabetes Crisis among African Americans: Today and Future Trends."Institute for Alternative Futures. Institute for Alternative Futures, 2011. Web. 30 Mar. 2013.

Cowling, Linda L. Health and Dietary Issues Affecting African AmericansCalifornia Food Guide: Fulfilling the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 1-2.California Department of Healthcare Services. California Department of Healthcare Services, 20 Sept. 2006. Web. 25 Mar. 2013.


  1. I enjoy your multiple statistics and references to help show how important the and real the disease is. You also introduce some social and cultural roles like the fast food and educational differences effects on diabetes within the black community. Can't wait to see some discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the data and this paper but good job.

  2. Great job on your blog post! I think you mentioned some great direct and indirect indicators that will be helpful in your paper. I really like how you incorporate social/cultural aspects in your data that will be further explained later on. I like your final paragraph were you begin to talk about food and poor diets, because I am working on a similar topic (obesity). You will definitely be able to use that data when discussing its relevance to diabetes. I am excited to see what you come up with.

  3. Great job beginning the process of thinking broadly about your problem and compiling some background information with regard to DM within the African American population. Couple of things to think about - you may consider limiting your problem to just urban environments vs rural and you may consider narrowing your population - adolescents or older adults. The interventions you select will likely be different depending on whether you want to look at an older population (say those >45yrs) or a younger population (those 18-30). For younger people a focus may be more on appropriate screening while for an older group it may be more about managing chronic illness. With regard to locality, you may even think about limiting it to your home town, Baltimore or even your campus.