Minorities at risk of developing diabetes

October 22, 2010 5:36:07 PM PDT
One in 10 Americans has diabetes and that number will likely triple by 2050. Obesity is a factor driving those numbers up and outreach groups are concerned.

Obesity is a major contributing factor to diabetes and both conditions are on the rise. But many doctors never imagined that in the next 40 years one in three Americans may have diabetes -- that's according to the CDC.

It's a disease that leads to other complications.

"Problems with the heart, problems with the brain, strokes, kidney problems, nerve damage in the feet which leads to amputations, problems with your vision," Dr. Andres Marin from Oakland's Clinica La Raza said.

Graciela Ceja of Oakland lives with diabetes and she says once you have it, you never know if it will get worse as you get older.

The reason why diabetes is on the rise is because as Americans grow older they are more likely to be at risk. Minority groups are growing in this country and they are a greater risk of developing diabetes because of obesity.

"A lot of junk food and sodas that we have, the cheaper foods, the easier foods to get are often the culprits for causing obesity," Marin said.

According to the CDC, the medical costs alone of diabetes are an estimated $175 billion a year.

"Those are expensive illnesses. It's loss of quality of life, it's lose of income, it's lose of extra expense and it's a terrible way to go," Beverly Yates said.

The Legislative Black Caucus hosted a forum on diabetes and obesity in Downtown Oakland to raise awareness.

"Kids are sitting way more now. They don't have P.E. often in school, if they are in public school unfortunately many of those budgets have been slashed," Yates said.

Assm. Sandre Sawnson, D-Oakland, says the legislature needs to take action to stop the progression of diabetes.

"We could invest in preventative actions for one, we can make sure that after school programs are funded and that they involve exercise," he said.

According to the National Institutes of Health, exercise and a healthier diet could reduce the risk of developing diabetes by as much as 58 percent in those people who are considered at risk.


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