Closing The Diabetes Disparity Gap

African american family generationsWhen it comes to diabetes in the United States, minority populations are hardest hit.

African Americans and Hispanics are almost twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be diagnosed with diabetes by a physician, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health and national examination surveys. African American and Hispanic Americans have higher rates of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) caused by diabetes and start ESRD treatment 2.4 and 1.6 times more often, respectively, compared with non-Hispanic whites.

Income, stable and affordable housing, access to healthy food, quality education and a host of other factors influence a person’s health status and longevity. These factors, what public health professionals recognize as “social determinants of health,” contribute to higher rates of diabetes and associated illness in African American and Hispanic American communities.

During National Minority Health Month each April, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (OMH) leads the nation in raising awareness about these disparities, their causes and the impact they have on minority communities and the nation as a whole.

The theme of this year’s National Minority Health Month observance – Bridging Health Equity Across Communities, emphasizes the collaborative, community-level work being done across the nation to help achieve health equity. Dannon’s partnership with WIC and Lenox Hill Hospitals’ partnership with leading health providers are two examples of collaborative efforts to bridge the health equity gap.