Welcome to Friday Facts! Each week we’ll be taking a look at a specific chart from the Data & Resources section of our website. This week we’re focusing on preventable amputations as a result of diabetes in California.
Diabetes in California is reaching epidemic proportions. Over 2.3 million residents have been diagnosed with diabetes, with the majority suffering from type 2. Communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the disease, with Latinos and African Americans twice as likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and twice as likely to die from it.
Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes, and one of the main drivers of obesity is sugar-sweetened beverages. In our recent brief, Not So Sweet: Confronting the Health Crisis from Sugar-Sweetened Beverages in California, we found that a reduction in sugar-sweetened beverage intake of 10% statewide would potentially prevent 12,000 new cases of diabetes over the next 10 years, with communities of color seeing the greatest benefits.
Diabetes prevention should be a priority, but so should improving access to care so that those with diabetes can receive care when they need it. Disparities in access to quality health care can have a tremendous impact among those living with diabetes. In today’s Friday Facts chart, you can see that African Americans are over three times as likely — and Latinos are twice as likely — as Whites to experience a preventable amputation as a result of diabetes. Diabetes is a health condition that requires close monitoring, and these disparities in preventable amputations show that many are not receiving the care they need until it is too late.
Our partners at the Latino Coalition of California (LCHC) have been doing a lot of work on diabetes in the Latino community. They have hosted community forums around the state to discuss diabetes, and have advocated for sugar-sweetened beverage taxes to help prevent future cases. At our recent Cultivating Health Equity legislative briefing, LCHC’s Executive Director, Xavier Morales, gave an impassioned speech about the impact of diabetes on California’s Latino population. He said that rates are getting so high many see it as inevitable. He even told a story about asking his aunt if she had diabetes, to which she responded, “Not yet!”
Many advocates throughout the state are working hard to reduce diabetes rates in California. Together, we can work to prevent future cases and ensure that those with the condition have the care they need it.