Who Has a Higher Chance of Diabetes?

Who Has a Higher Chance of Diabetes?

More than 30 million Americans have diabetes. Another 84 million American adults have prediabetes. You likely know someone dealing with this health issue.

Research shows that family traits are not enough to be the cause of getting diabetes.  Certain race, age, and lifestyle factors are also associated with higher rates of diabetes.

African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and other minority groups are most likely to have Type 2 diabetes, which makes up more than 90 percent of all diabetes cases. In 2010, the number of African American adults with diabetes was nearly twice the number of white adults with the disease.

Diabetes also touches many seniors in the U.S. A quarter of people over age 60 have it.

As part of or independent from race and age factors, lifestyle and health “disparities” can make some of the biggest differences in prevent, developing, and treating diabetes.

That could mean living in a rural setting far from health care or living in places were there aren’t many choices for care.  Other examples may include not eating a healthy diet, and/or living in a ‘food desert’ community, where access to healthier food options may be challenging.  Certain communities and/or living environments may make it harder or even unsafe to exercise.

Some steps can help people beat those challenges: 

  • Learn to recognize unhealthy lifestyle risks and make improvements when and where you can
  • Ensure access to needed medical care
  • Help them access and learn how to make better food choices
  • Encourage them to exercise
  • Show them how to handle stress 

Research shows these changes can help people cut their chance of getting Type 2 diabetes by as much as 58 percent.

Sources: Statistics about Diabetes, leaving site icon American Diabetes Association, 2018; National Diabetes Prevention Program,  leaving site icon Addressing Health Disparities in Diabetes, leaving site icon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018.

  Originally published 12/29/2014; Revised 2019