African Americans and Type 2 Diabetes
Why the Type 2 Diabetes Disparity?
It's clear that African Americans get more than their fair share of type 2 diabetes and related complications. Others may be quick to blame obesity and inactivity for this disparity, which is unfair and overly simplistic. It is helpful to understand that all ethnic groups, except Alaska Natives, are more likely to have type 2 diabetes compared to non-Hispanic whites. Even Asian Americans, despite being thinner than Caucasians on average, have a higher risk.
Studies show that for people at a high risk for type 2 diabetes, all you need is a modest weight loss of 5 percent to 7 percent of your body weight (which is only 15 to 21 pounds for a 300-pound person) in order to help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. You don't need to starve yourself or become an elite athlete. Small changes that are easy to live with can get you there. Build enjoyable physical activity (like walking, gardening, or dancing) into each day. Make a few healthier food choices each day.
Those same small and maintainable lifestyle changes are also a great idea for people who already have type 2 diabetes in order to help prevent complications. Little by little, each of these small choices makes a big difference.