I consider myself to be biracial, with my mom being black and my dad being white. One of the diseases that affects one of these groups is diabetes.
Race and genetics play a major role in an individual’s health. Some racial groups are affected much more by certain diseases than others. Some of the factors influencing this disparity include income, access to adequate health care, family history, and access to good nutrition. In the video from Unnatural Causes “In Sickness and in Wealth,” one woman explained how it was difficult for individuals in her low-income area to get access to good nutrition because of the high prices and the fact that fast food restaurants, rather than grocery stores, were prevalent in the area. Another factor that can adversely affect health is stress, which can result from living a stressful lifestyle that might include racism or being denied access to things that might promote good health.
One in four African American women over the age of 55 suffers from Type II diabetes. Type II diabetes is a disease that affects blood glucose levels, causes the body to use insulin inefficiently, and can be caused by a number of factors, including unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, and predisposition based on genetics. African americans are also more likely to experience amputation or kidney failure as a result of type 2 diabetes. I believe type 2 diabetes is so prevalent in this group because of genetic disposition (individuals whose family members have type 2 diabetes are more likely to end up having it themselves) but also a lack of adequate health care to treat type 2 diabetes and also a lack of access to good methods of exercise (such as gyms or workout rooms) and also healthy foods.
The graph above shows the percentage of individuals suffering from diabetes by race and gender.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Age-Adjusted Percentage of Civilian, Noninstitutionalized Population with Diagnosed Diabetes, by Race and Sex, United States, 1980–2011.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/statistics/prev/national/figraceethsex.htm (accessed July 12, 2014).
“Minority Women’s Health.” Diabetes. http://womenshealth.gov/minority-health/african-americans/diabetes.html (accessed July 12, 2014).