February is Black History Month, and to raise awareness about the severity of type 2 diabetes among the African-American community, the American Diabetes Association is reinforcing its campaign efforts. Currently, almost 30 million people live with diabetes in the United States. African-Americans represent 13.2 percent of those diagnosed, while non-Hispanic whites represent 7.6 percent. Statistics also show African-Americans are more prone to developing serious complications of diabetes, such as amputations, kidney disease and blindness. The risk of developing complications may be impossible to completely eliminate, but a good control of diabetes has been proven fundamental to reducing those risks.
Samuel Dagogo-Jack, from the American Diabetes Association, said in a press release: “Despite the continuing epidemic of diabetes with disparate impacts on ethnic minority groups, the good news is that interventions for prevention and treatment of diabetes are equally effective, regardless of race or ethnicity. This underscores the urgency of timely and optimal intervention in African Americans and other high risk groups. As part of Black History Month, the American Diabetes Association wants to draw attention to the seriousness of diabetes among the African American community and encourage the community to become educated about their risk for type 2 diabetes and the steps they can take to lead healthier lives.”
The Association is committed to decrease and eventually eliminate these racial health disparities in diabetes, and improve health education in communities, and opportunities for outreach and training focused on African-Americans. Last year, the same initiative was able to reach over 4.5 million individuals considered high-risk, and more Americans, regardless of race, were educated on and encouraged to make healthier lifestyle choices.
African-Americans are also underrepresented among the country’s biomedical research staff, so to help address this, the Association has begun working with the National Institutes of Health to establish dedicated mentorship programs to expand the African-American pool of professionals and researchers.
Since its founding in 1940, the American Diabetes Association has been committed to fighting for those who suffer from diabetes and its related deadly complications. The Association uses its funds only in the most promising research programs designed to prevent, manage and cure diabetes, in providing services and information to communities, and in making healthcare accessible to all.