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Diabetes Mortality Rates Higher Among Blacks Than Whites

FRIDAY, April 2, 2021 -- Diabetes mortality rates are higher in Blacks than Whites, with a mortality rate 2.21 times higher among Blacks than among Whites during 2013 to 2017, according to a study published in the March issue of Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice.

Joanna Buscemi, Ph.D., from DePaul University in Chicago, and colleagues used vital statistics mortality data and American Community Survey population estimates to calculate Black/White mortality rate ratios and differences and compare changes in mortality rates and inequities across 2008 to 2012 (T1) and 2013 to 2017 (T2).

The researchers found that the U.S. diabetes mortality rate was 20.91 per 100,000 at T1 and increased significantly to 21.05 at T2. The highest diabetes mortality rate at both time points was seen in El Paso (33.06 and 35.98 at T1 and T2, respectively), while the lowest rates were seen in San Francisco (11.41 and 13.18 at T1 and T2, respectively). At T2, the U.S. Black mortality rate was 2.21 times higher than the White mortality rate. In 11 cities, at T2, the rate ratios were significantly higher than the rate ratio of the United States, with the Black-White rate ratio about three times higher in Washington, D.C. compared with the national rate ratio.

"Recent public conversations regarding COVID-19 inequities have put a spotlight on racial inequities that have existed over the course of U.S history," the authors write. "Diabetes has also become part of this conversation due to the fact that diabetes increases the risk for hospitalization and death from COVID-19."

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