Closing the Diabetes Disparities Gap

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When it comes to diabetes in the United States, minority populations are hardest hit.

African Americans and Hispanics are almost twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be diagnosed with diabetes by a physician, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health and national examination surveys. African American and Hispanic Americans have higher rates of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) caused by diabetes and start ESRD treatment 2.4 and 1.6 times more often, respectively, compared with non-Hispanic whites.

Income, stable and affordable housing, access to healthy food, quality education and a host of other factors influence a person’s health status and longevity. These factors, what public health professionals recognize as “social determinants of health,” contribute to higher rates of diabetes and associated illness in African American and Hispanic American communities.

During National Minority Health Month each April, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (OMH) leads the nation in raising awareness about these disparities, their causes and the impact they have on minority communities and the nation as a whole.

The theme of this year’s National Minority Health Month observance – Bridging Health Equity Across Communities, emphasizes the collaborative, community-level work being done across the nation to help achieve health equity. Dannon’s partnership with WIC and Lenox Hill Hospitals’ partnership with leading health providers are two examples of collaborative efforts to bridge the health equity gap.

Dannon and WIC

One way Dannon is helping to achieve health in minorities is by working to make healthier food choices readily available to WIC participants. The addition of yogurt to the WIC food packages, which began on April 1, 2015, brings important nutrients to pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and young children at critical life stages.

Yogurt is especially well suited for the WIC audience. Most yogurts provide three out of the four nutrients of concern — calcium, potassium and vitamin D — and eating yogurt regularly is associated with less weight gain over time. Overweight and obesity are two major risk factors for diabetes.  Yogurt is also a source of high quality protein, which can help support bone and muscle strength, and most yogurts contain live and active cultures that help with lactose digestion.

Dannon offers a variety of WIC eligible products to meet WIC participants needs and preferences which can be found here.

Lenox Hill Hospital Partnership

The Gerald J. Friedman Diabetes Institute at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York along with a coalition of other leading health care providers, government officials, public- and private-sector companies, and community-based organizations, recently pledge to help build a sustainable path to health and wellness for the thousands of New Yorkers living with diabetes.

The coalitions’ new program “¡Vida SI, Diabetes NO!” (Life YES! Diabetes NO!), is a bilingual, long-term health initiative that will take a comprehensive and systematic look at diabetes among Latinos with the goal of uncovering the root causes, leading to more effective and efficient delivery of prevention, education, testing, and treatment.

Participants of “¡Vida SI, Diabetes NO!” (Life YES! Diabetes NO!) have access to bi-lingual diabetes educators, nutritionists, social workers, exercise trainers and other diabetes specialists to help improve the management of their diabetes and help them live longer healthier lives.

 You can learn more about “¡Vida SI, Diabetes NO!” (Life YES, Diabetes NO!) on social media including Facebook https://www.facebook.com/VidaSIDiabetesNO on https://twitter.com/VSIDNO and on Instagram under user name @vsidno.

Dannons’ partnership with WIC and Lenox Hills’ “¡Vida SI, Diabetes NO!” (Life YES! Diabetes NO!) program are national and community level partnerships that will help close the diabetes disparities gap in African Americans and Hispanics.

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