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Congresswoman Waters Urges Colleagues to Support Bill to Reduce Diabetes Disparities in Honor of National Diabetes Month

November 30, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, urged her congressional colleagues to cosponsor the Minority Diabetes Initiative Act, in honor of National Diabetes Month, which is celebrated in November. 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.

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

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) among persons at least eighteen years of age, 8.9 percent of Asian Americans, 12.2 percent of Latino Americans, 13.2 percent of African-Americans and 17.5 percent of American/Alaska Natives have been diagnosed with 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 and even die from diabetes,” said Congresswoman Waters.

The CDC calculated that compared to non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics are 40 percent more likely to die from diabetes; African-Americans are twice as likely to die from diabetes; and American Indians/Alaska Natives are almost twice as likely to die from the disease.

The Minority Diabetes Initiative Act will 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.

“The Minority Diabetes Initiative Act will help reduce the incidence of diabetes among minorities and enable those affected to live healthy and productive lives,” said Congresswoman Waters.