Black Children Have Higher Risk of Developing Diabetes

New study finds diabetes risks rising for all Americans, especially among Blacks and Latinos.

Posted: 08/19/2014 02:48 PM EDT
Black Children Have Higher Risk of Developing Diabetes

What’s the likelihood of your child developing diabetes? If he or she is black or Hispanic, there’s a 50 percent likelihood of developing the disease during his or her lifetime, according to a new study published in The Lancet. American children overall have only a 40 percent chance.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed mortality data for almost 600,000 Americans from 1985 to 2011 to determine the risk Americans face of developing type 1 or type 2 diabetes, categorized by race, and found that race and socioeconomic status are huge risk factors in developing the disease.

“Socioeconomic status is probably as important as race, if not more important,” said Edward Gregg, the lead author of the study.

Diabetes risk rose during the 16-year study period. In 1985 the threat stayed in the 21 percent and 27 percent range for boys and girls, respectively. It jumped to 40 percent for both sexes by 2011. Researchers say the spike may be attributed to longer life expectancy of Americans.

Though the study didn’t look at causes for the various risk levels, Gregg said the answer to decreasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes may lie in “having more healthy food options, having more information about what we eat and what sorts of foods we eat are healthy, and having more options to be physically active.”

On a more positive note researchers found diabetes is no longer a death sentence. Children diagnosed with the disease can expect to see their 70th birthdays—and beyond.

Read more about Black children’s risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes at BlackHealthMatters.Com.

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(Photo: Masterfile/Radius Images/Corbis)

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