On Thursday, November 21, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) reintroduced the Minority Diabetes Initiative Act (H.R. 3591) in honor of National Diabetes Month. 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 is cosponsored by 41 of the Congresswoman's congressional colleagues.
"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 over the age of twenty, 8.4 percent of Asian Americans, 11.8 percent of Hispanic Americans, 12.6 percent of African Americans, and 14.2 percent of American Indians/Alaska Natives have been diagnosed with diabetes. Among Hispanics, the rates are 13.3 percent for Mexican Americans and 13.8 percent for Puerto Rican Americans.
"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," said Congresswoman Waters. "Minorities with diabetes often lack access to quality health care and are more likely to suffer from complications."
The CDC calculated that compared to non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics were 1.5 times more likely to die from diabetes; American Indians/Alaska Natives were 1.8 times more likely to die from diabetes; and African Americans were 2.2 times more 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," added Congresswoman Waters.