18 percent of Blacks suffer from diabetes

The House and Senate today held a bipartisan hearing on the “Economic Impact of Diabetes,” a disease from which Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans suffer in far greater numbers than White Americans.

Janet Brown-Friday, president of the Health Care and Education for the American Diabetes Association, said 18 percent of Blacks, 17 percent of Hispanics, and 50 percent of Native Americans suffer from the disease. 

The Centers for Disease Control reported that 37 million people suffer from diabetes and 100 million people suffer from prediabetes.

Family income is a leading determinant. If a household earns $30,000 per year people in the household suffer from diabetes compared with only 7 percent of Whites earning $80,000 or more per year, Brown-Friday told committee members.

Rep. Gwen Moore (D. Wisconsin), introduced H.R. 1577, a 2021 bill to expand Medicare coverage of intensive behavioral therapy for obesity. Moore said she will introduce the bill a second time.

Buu Nygren, president of the Navajo Nation, told the panel some causal factors include food deserts on reservations and in the Black community where shoppers can’t buy fresh food, fruits, and vegetables or they have to travel for miles to get wholesome food. Lower-income individuals and families often have difficulty affording fresh food even when they are able to identify stores that sell it.