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Congresswoman Maxine Waters Introduces Legislation to Reduce Diabetes Disparities

December 28, 2009
Press Release

Before the House of Representatives adjourned for the holidays on December 16th, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) introduced the Minority Diabetes Initiative Act (H.R. 4404).  This bill will establish an initiative to provide grants to physicians and community based organizations for diabetes prevention, care, and treatment programs in minority communities.  The bill has bipartisan support.

"Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, and it is having an especially severe impact on minorities," said Congresswoman Waters.

The Minority Diabetes Initiative Act would provide grants for a variety of diabetes-related health services, including public education on diabetes prevention and control, routine health care for diabetic patients, eye care, foot care, and treatment for kidney disease and other complications of diabetes. 

"Diabetes can lead to serious and sometimes deadly complications, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, nerve damage, and lower-limb amputations.  Minorities with diabetes often lack access to quality health care and are more likely to suffer from complications," said Congresswoman Waters.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that among persons over the age of twenty, 7.5 percent of Asian Americans, 10.4 percent of Hispanic Americans, 11.8 percent of African Americans, and about 16.5 percent of American Indians/Alaska Natives have been diagnosed with diabetes.  The CDC calculated that in 2006, compared to whites, Hispanics were 1.5 times as likely to die from diabetes; American Indians were almost twice as likely to die from diabetes; and African Americans were more than twice as likely to die from the disease.
"The Minority Diabetes Initiative Act would improve the ability of minorities affected by diabetes to live healthy and productive lives," said Congresswoman Waters.