Like so many other parts of the world, New York City is in the midst of an epidemic of diet-related diseases. Among the conditions that have been related to diet are heart diseases, hypertension, stroke, and cancer. But no health condition is more dependent on diet that Type II diabetes. CDC director Tom Frieden, the former Commissioner of Health in New York City once observed that diabetes follows obesity as night follows day. Below are some of the numbers about diabetes in New York City.
ESTIMATED THAT 230,000 NEW YORKERS ARE UNAWARE THEY HAVE DIABETES
In 2011, nearly 650,000 adults in New York City reported they had diabetes, an increase of 200,000 since 2002. Another 230,000 New Yorkers are estimated to be unaware that they have the disease. Obese New Yorkers were more than two times as likely as other adults to have diabetes (17.9% vs. 7.9%) in 2011.
BLACK, HISPANIC, AND ASIAN NEW YORKERS ARE 2 TIMES AS LIKELY TO HAVE DIABETES
Black, Hispanic and Asian New Yorkers were at least twice as likely to have diabetes as white New Yorkers, making the disease a leading contributor to the inequalities in health among New York’s racial/ethnic groups.
Non-Hispanic Black New Yorkers had the highest diabetes-related mortality rate of any racial/ethnic group at 116 deaths per 100,000 population, followed by Hispanics (81/100,000), non-Hispanic whites (45/100,000), and Asian/Pacific Islanders (41/100,000). Diabetes-related mortality rates were 2.7 times higher among individuals living in very high-poverty neighborhoods than among those in low-poverty neighborhoods (114 vs. 42 deaths per 100,000 population).
DIABETES IS NEARLY 70% MORE COMMON IN HIGH POVERTY NEIGHBORHOODS
Diabetes rates differ by neighborhood. The neighborhoods with the highest prevalence of diabetes were Fordham-Bronx Park(14.6%), East New York(14.4%) and Williamsburgh-Bushwick (13.9%). The neighborhoods with the lowest rates were the Upper East Side-Grammercy (4.4%)and Chelsea-Village(4.1%) in Manhattan.
Diabetes differences by neighborhood poverty level also tell a tale of two cities. Diabetes was nearly 70 percent more common in very high poverty neighborhoods than in low poverty neighborhoods(12.7% vs. 7.5%)
1 PERSON DIES OF DIABETES-RELATED CAUSES EVERY 90 MINUTES IN NYC
One person dies of diabetes-related causes every 90 minutes in New York City. The age-adjusted diabetes-related death rate reached an all-time high in 2011 (67 deaths per 100,000 population), while the overall death rate in New York City has been decreasing. Since 1990, the proportion of all New York City deaths that were related to diabetes nearly doubled, from 6.0% in 1990 to 10.8% in 2011.
58% REDUCED RISK OF DIABETES WITH DIET AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY CHANGES
In 2002, the New England Journal of Medicine published the results of the Diabetes Prevention Project, a multicenter trial of an intensive lifestyle change program to reduce diabetes risk among overweight adults. The study found that those receiving intensive individual counseling and motivational support on making changes in their diet and physical activity reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 58 percent. All participating ethnic groups and men and women experienced these benefits.
Had New York City been able to make this type of program available to its residents at risk of diabetes in the last 12 years, it might have been able to prevent tens of thousands of cases and premature deaths from diabetes.