Diabetes, Heart, and Cardiovascular Diseases News Chronicle.      Article 314

Poverty And Obesity Are The Risk Factors For Type 2 Diabetes In Black Americans


An earlier study shows a higher risk of type 2 diabetes in Black adults compared with White adults. A current study shows the increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) or the risk disparities in Black adults is largely due to the following factors.

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  • Biological factors: Such as fasting glucose (sugar) levels, higher body mass index (BMI).
  • Neighborhood factors: Such as racial segregation and tract-level poverty.
  • Psychosocial factors: Such as depressive symptoms.
  • Socioeconomic factors: Such as current employment, personal and parental educational attainment.
  • Behavioral factors: Such as regular alcohol consumption, smoking.

The higher risk of type 2 diabetes in Black adults is due to the high blood sugar (glucose) levels and obesity (BMI).

Researchers have conducted a 24-year follow-up study on 4,251 Black and White adults without type 2 diabetes, both men and women, aged between 18 and 30 years. About 49 percent of them were Black, and about 54 percent of them were women. Researchers used the Cox proportional hazards model in the study. The study shows the following.

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  • Diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in 504 participants.
  • Three times higher risk of type 2 diabetes among Black women compared to White women.
  • About 67 percent of likely higher risk of type 2 diabetes among Black men compared to White men.
  • The study has observed the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in 315 Black people (152 for every 1,000 people) and in 189 White people (86 for every 1,000 people).
  • The study has found that the biological factors such as fasting blood sugar (glucose) levels and obesity (higher body mass index. BMI) have played the major role in the development of type 2 diabetes among Black people compared with White people.

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Researchers have found that the race is not a factor to the risk of type 2 diabetes when they accounted for traditional risk factors which contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes among Black Americans such as neighborhood segregation and poverty levels, obesity (higher body mass index. BMI), depression, education and employment.

Researchers say that the study suggests the risk of type 2 diabetes associated with race can be lowered by eliminating the differences in the traditional risk factors between Whites and Blacks. But the researchers say it is not an easy fix as everyone should receive the equal economic opportunity, should have enough money to eat the healthy food and they should get a place for the physical activity.

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An earlier study shows that the neighborhoods of Black people are with the fewer places for physical activity, fewer grocery stores and people living in those areas are with a higher rate of poverty. This study has found that these factors contribute to the development of obesity and diabetes among Black people living in those areas.

Black people should understand the risk disparities in the development of type 2 diabetes. The risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease can be successfully lowered by keeping the blood pressure and blood sugar levels within the limits, avoiding smoking, performing the regular exercise (workout), eating the healthy diet and taking the medication regularly.

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The lead author of the study was Michael P. Bancks, Ph.D., a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, the United States. The study was published December 26, 2017, in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Title of the article was "Association of Modifiable Risk Factors in Young Adulthood With Racial Disparity in Incident Type 2 Diabetes During Middle Adulthood."
DOI: doi.org/10.1001/jama.2017.19546

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Published on March 27, 2018


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