Diabetes Statistics Report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this year reveals stark racial disparities in the prevalence and incidence of diabetes across the United States. In this article, we explore the data, as well as the significant concerns about health equity that they raise.
The report makes no distinction between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, although it is worth noting that approximately 90–95% of adults with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.
According to the new CDC report, more than 1 in 10 people in the U.S., around 34.2 million, live with diabetes, 34.1 million of whom are adults.
Of these, the paper estimates that 26.9 million have a diagnosis of the condition.
The “Prevalence of diagnosed was highest among American Indians/Alaska Natives (14.7%), people of Hispanic origin (12.5%), and non-Hispanic [Black Americans] (11.7%),” notes the report.
Non-Hispanic Asian Americans followed, with a prevalence of 9.2%, and non-Hispanic white Americans, with 7.5%. AI/AN women had a higher prevalence of diabetes than AI/AN men.
In terms of incidence, or new cases, the latest report recorded 1.5 million new cases of among U.S. adults in 2018. Of these, non-Hispanic Black adults had an incidence of 8.2 per 1,000 people, while those of Hispanic origin accounted for 9.7 per 1,000.
These race-related health disparities are not new. A 2012 editorial by the American Association noted that “18.7% of all African Americans ≥ 20 years of age, have diagnosed or undiagnosed, compared to 7.1% of non-Hispanic white Americans.”
Going further back to 2006, “African Americans with diabetes were 1.5 times more likely to be hospitalized and 2.3 times more likely to die from than non-Hispanic whites” that year, according to the same editorial.
The authors also quoted an older 2003 report, in which the Institute of Medicine found that “African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans experience a 50–100% higher burden of illness and mortality than white Americans.”
At the time, nearly 16.1% of AI/AN were living with diabetes, the highest prevalence of the condition of all U.S. racial and ethnic groups.