African-American Women's Health and Social Issues

By Catherine Fisher Collins | Go to book overview

5
Focus on African-American Women and Diabetes

Catherine Fisher Collins

Diabetes is a disease that is ravishing the African-American community. Some estimate that there are 10 million Americans "with some form of diabetes, and half of those do not know that they have it" ( Edlin & Golanty , 1992, p. 65). The American Diabetes Association (ADA) estimates that "3 million Black Americans have Diabetes . . . are 55% more likely to have diabetes, and 1 in every 10 Black Americans have Diabetes" ( ADA, Diabetes Facts, 1990). Some literature suggests that diabetes was relatively uncommon during the beginning of this century. However, today it is the fourth leading cause of death among African-American women. Figure 1 presents the severity of this problem among African-American women.

As you can see from these comparative figures, the prevalence of diabetes among African-American women in 1983 was relatively high and, even though there has been some improvement, their disease rate is far greater when compared to that of nonminority males and females and minority males. Diabetes is having a devastating impact on the African-American

This chapter is dedicated to the memory of Nellie Arzelia Thornton, July 1945-November 1995, who loved children and served as the 14th National President of Jack & Jill of America, and was my friend.

-75-

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