American Diabetes Association Applauds U.S. Lawmakers for Fighting Diabetes in Minority Communities

April 21, 2009

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) applauds Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Michael Castle (R-DE) and Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) for introducing the Eliminating Disparities in Diabetes Prevention Access and Care Act of 2009 (EDDPAC) today. This legislation urges Congress to support improvements in diabetes research, treatment and education for minority populations as well as to address the unique challenges faced by these populations in fighting diabetes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), minorities—Hispanic/Latinos, African Americans, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, and American Indians and Alaskan Natives— have the highest incidence of diabetes and its complications. Additionally, one in three children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime if current trends continue. For minority populations that number is nearly one in two.

"We are pleased members of Congress reintroduced this important legislation," commented Henry Foster, MD, chair of the American Diabetes Association's Diabetes Epidemic Action Council. "With better knowledge of the causes and complications of diabetes particularly in minority populations we can develop better treatments and those at risk can make more informed lifestyle choices to try to avoid this debilitating disease. We look forward to passage of EDDPAC and to ending disparities being a necessary part of health reform."

If enacted, this legislation will launch a coordinated effort from the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and other federal health agencies to improve equity through research, education and treatment of diabetes in minority populations.

"In order to eliminate the disparate affect of diabetes on minority populations we need to enhance public education and support culturally appropriate health promotion and prevention programs, continue research into the causes of these
disparities, and improve treatment of diabetes in affected populations," commented Edward A. Chow, MD, chair of the American Diabetes Association's Asian Pacific American Diabetes Action Council.

The diabetes epidemic affects 23.6 million Americans of every race, gender, and ethnicity. While 6.6 percent of non-Hispanic white Americans ages 20 or older have diabetes, statistics for diabetes in minority populations are much higher:

  • 14.7 percent of African Americans have diabetes ages 20 and older have diabetes,
  • 10.4 percent of Hispanic/Latino Americans ages 20 and older have diabetes,
  • 16.5 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives served by the Indian Health Service have diabetes, and Asian American, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander Americans have been found to develop diabetes at a lower body mass index than other populations.

"Diabetes discriminates. Minority populations have a higher incidence of diabetes and are often less able to obtain the care that they need to manage their disease," said Victor Gonzalez, MD, chair of the American Diabetes Association's Latino Diabetes Action Council. "This legislation will help bring us one step closer to eliminating health disparities."


About the American Diabetes Association

Nearly half of American adults have diabetes or prediabetes; more than 30 million adults and children have diabetes; and every 21 seconds, another individual is diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. Founded in 1940, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization whose mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. The ADA drives discovery by funding research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, as well as to search for cures; raises voice to the urgency of the diabetes epidemic; and works to safeguard policies and programs that protect people with diabetes. In addition, the ADA supports people living with diabetes, those at risk of developing diabetes, and the health care professionals who serve them through information and programs that can improve health outcomes and quality of life. For more information, please call the ADA at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish. Find us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn)