There are currently over 60 million Hispanics/Latinos in the United States. This is 18% of the population, forming the largest minority group. We know that more Hispanic/Latino adults develop diabetes compared to the White population. The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) is a long-term study of risk factors in Hispanic/Latino populations. For this, 16,415 Hispanic/Latino adults aged 18-74 years in Chicago, Miami, New York, and San Diego participated. Study participants have repeat medical exams. The results are compared with baseline information from 2008-2011.
The burden of diabetes is increasing
A new report presents results of 11,619 participants at their second exam. At this visit, the rate (prevalence) of diabetes was 24.5%. Diabetes was more common in people with Puerto Rican and Mexican heritage than people with Cuban or South American heritage. The number of new cases (incidence) of diabetes was also higher in people with a body mass index (BMI) above 30. Rates of health insurance coverage and diabetes awareness were higher at the second visit. It is likely that health insurance coverage increased due to the Affordable Care Act. Compared with other groups, Cuban Americans had the highest proportion with glycemic control despite having the lowest proportion insured. People with a Dominican background had the lowest glycemic control despite having the highest treatment. Overall, only 58% of participants had an HbA1c below 7%.
Not all Hispanics/Latinos are the same
The U.S., Hispanic/Latino communities with diabetes should not be considered as a single group. Greater efforts are needed to help each group reach HbA1c goals.