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Fact Sheet

Prevalence of Diabetes among Hispanics
In Six U.S. Geographic Locations

This report is also provided in Portable Document Format [PDF–51 KB]

Diabetes disproportionately affects Hispanics in the United States. Where Hispanics reside may be a key factor in how diabetes impacts their lives. Differences in access to quality health care, social and cultural factors, or genetics may explain disparities in diabetes prevalence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study to examine the prevalence of diabetes among Hispanics in six U.S. geographical areas from 1998 to 2002.

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Key Findings

  • Among U.S. regions with the greatest proportion of Hispanic residents—California, Florida, Illinois, New York/New Jersey, Texas, and Puerto Rico—the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes among adults aged 18 years and older was 7.4 percent.
  • Prevalence of diabetes among Hispanics varied by region from 6.2 percent in Illinois and New York/New Jersey to 9.3 percent in Puerto Rico.
  • Diabetes tends to strike Hispanics at younger ages than the non-Hispanic white population. California had the highest rate of diabetes among younger Hispanics. Among adults aged 18 to 44 years, 3.2 percent of Hispanics had diagnosed diabetes compared with 1.3 percent of non-Hispanic whites in that age group.
  • The Hispanic population in the United States is younger than the non-Hispanic population. When accounting for the different age distributions, the overall prevalence of diabetes among Hispanics was almost twice that of non-Hispanic whites (9.8 percent vs. 5 percent).
  • In all geographic areas, diabetes rates increased with age. Illinois had the highest rates among middle-aged adults aged 45–54 years (15.9 percent vs. 4.6 percent) and among adults aged 65 years and older (25.8 percent vs.15 percent).
  • Diabetes rates more than doubled for obese Hispanics. Among those with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or less, 7 percent reported they had diabetes while 15.3 percent of those with a BMI of 30 or more had diabetes. BMI is the ratio of height to weight.
  • Prevalence of diabetes decreased with higher education levels. Among Hispanics with less than a high school education, 11.8 percent had diabetes compared to 7 percent of college graduates.

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Diabetes Facts

  • About 18.2 million people in United States have diabetes and another 41 million have a condition known as pre-diabetes when their blood sugar is elevated above normal levels. With modest lifestyle changes—increased physical activity and weight loss—people with pre-diabetes can reduce their risk of developing diabetes.
  • Lifetime risk estimates for developing diabetes is higher for both Hispanic men and women than for other ethnic groups. Hispanic women born in 2000 have a 52.5 percent risk of developing diabetes in their lifetime while Hispanic men have a 45.4 percent risk. That compares to a 31.2 percent risk for non-Hispanic white females and 26.7 percent risk among non-Hispanic white males and a 49 percent and a 40.2 percent risk among African American women and men respectively.
  • Most people with diabetes (90-95 percent) have type 2 which is associated with having a family history of diabetes, older age, obesity, and race/ethnicity. Hispanic Americans are at particularly high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death among Hispanics in the United States and is a leading cause of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputations.

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Prevention Efforts

  • The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) sponsored by CDC and the National Institutes of Health provides Spanish-language education materials and prevention tools to Hispanic communities as well as to health care providers and businesses.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded $37.5 million to support 40 communities in reducing the burden of diabetes, overweight, obesity, and asthma.
  • Diabetes can contribute to serious complications even before it is diagnosed. HHS is piloting a screening program in 10 U.S. communities to uncover diabetes in the more than 5.2 million Americans who have undiagnosed diabetes. To date, the Diabetes Detection Initiative has found that for every100 tests distributed to targeted populations, one case of diabetes was detected.

For more information on diabetes visit or call
toll free: 1-800-CDC-INFO
1-888-232-6348 TTY (232-3422).

Department of Health and Human Services

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