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

Representatives DeGette and Castle and Senators Lautenberg and Isakson Introduce Eliminating Disparities in Diabetes Prevention, Access and Care Act of 2009

Alexandria, VA –(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 Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, 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 the 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:

o 14.7 percent of African Americans ages 20 and older have diabetes,
o 10.4 percent of Hispanic/Latino Americans ages 20 and older have diabetes,
o 16.5 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives served by the Indian Health Service have diabetes, and
o Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians 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.”

The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight against the deadly consequences of diabetes and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.

Christine Feheley

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