HBCU Writers's Project
For Immediate Release
February 22, 2010
Contact Information

Portia Mazone
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

(BPRW) Diabetes Hits African American Communities Hard

(BLACK PR WIRE/FAMU-TALLAHASSEE) – Diabetes has become one of the major health problems facing Americans today. In the African American community, diabetes is a rising problem.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) most recent statistics on diabetes, 23.6 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. According to the Office of Minority Health (OMH), African American adults are twice as likely as non-Hispanic white adults to have been diagnosed with diabetes by a physician. “Diabetes is one of the most serious health problems that the African American community faces today,” said Karen M. Rilley, coordinator for the American Diabetes Association National Call Center.

“Compared to the general population, African Americans are disproportionately affected by diabetes,” said Rilley. “To address this growing epidemic, the American Diabetes Association created a targeted approach called African American Initiatives. The initiative is designed to increase awareness of the rates of diabetes among African Americans, provide information about the seriousness of diabetes and its complications, teach the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices, and educate those with or at risk for developing diabetes about prevention, treatment, and management,” added Rilley.

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. According to the African American Community Health Advisory Committee (AACHAC), diabetes currently is the fourth-leading cause of death by disease among African Americans and is the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure and amputation within the African American community. Tuesday, March 23, is American Diabetes Alert Day. American Diabetes Alert Day calls attention to diabetes and encourages all Americans to find out if they are at risk for diabetes.