Black Woman's Health Imperative Section

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Reduce Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes



The prevalence of type 2 diabetes—a potentially life-threatening condition where blood glucose levels are above normal—is a growing problem in the United States. Currently one in 10 Americans has the disease, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in three is likely to have it by 2050 if the current trend continues. 

In 2012, the Black Women’s Health Imperative (the Imperative) was selected along with five other national organizations to help carry out the CDC’s four-year National Diabetes Prevention Program to help reduce the rate of type 2 diabetes in this country.  The program offers a yearlong lifestyle change intervention that focuses on  preventing type 2 diabetes among persons at risk for developing diabetes and encouraging employers and insurers to offer the program as a covered health benefit.

Research has shown that lifestyle changes such as increased physical activity, changes in diet and a modest reduction in weight can significantly reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes and other preventable chronic conditions. Through funding provided to national organizations such as the Imperative, the CDC is supporting  community-based diabetes prevention strategies that are proven to help individuals delay or avert the onset of diabetes. Local partnerships established  with these grant dollars will help community organizations reach large numbers of community residents  with prediabetes —a condition where blood glucose levels are elevated, but are not high enough to be classified as diabetes. 



Type 2 diabetes is a preventable, chronic disease that, if not managed, can cause debilitating, life-threatening complications such as heart disease and stroke, blindness, kidney disease, amputations and high-risk pregnancy among other conditions. In addition to its serious health risks, the American Diabetes Association estimated that in 2012 the diseases cost the U.S. $245 billion in health care costs and lost productivity.

Certain racial and ethnic groups and women experience  higher rates of diabetes due to issues such as high blood pressure, obesity and sedentary lifestyles.  Compared to non-Hispanic White adults, the risk for diagnosed diabetes was 66% higher among Hispanics, and 77% higher among non-Hispanic Blacks, according to the most current national data. In addition, women with diabetes are in danger of pregnancy complications and are at greater risk than men with diabetes for heart-attack deaths and blindness.

While there are some risk factors we cannot control, such as age or family history, there are steps we can take to address other contributing factors such as being overweight or obese, physical inactivity and smoking.  Nearly 80 percent of Black and 75 percent of Hispanic women are overweight. In addition, 55 percent and 60 percent of Black and Hispanic women, respectively, are physically inactive. By changing these dynamics, Black and Hispanic women can significantly reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes.

As a funded organization  in the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program, the Imperative is in a unique position to support Black women and Latinas in making the lifestyle changes that have been shown effective in reducing the risk for diabetes and its related complications.  And, by working with women to implement strategies such as goal setting, food and activity tracking, weight monitoring and self management, we are also able to influence  positive health behaviors in entire families that may be at risk for developing the disease.



The Imperative has awarded grants to  a network of established community partners in states with high rates of diabetes and prediabetes. Our funded community partner organizations are:


Each of our funded partner organizations is  working with local residents, area  employers, community and faith-based organizations,  insurers, health-care providers and other local groups to offer the  yearlong lifestyle intervention program.  Studies have shown that people with prediabetes that lose a modest amount of weight (5 to 7 percent), improve their diets and increase their physical activity to at least 150 minutes (about 30 minutes 5 times a week) can delay or prevent the onset of diabetes.

Program participants  work with a lifestyle coach in a group setting where they  learn strategies for making changes in their food choices, increasing the level of weekly physical activity and reaching and maintaining a healthy  weight. The lifestyle coaches support participants in identifying emotions and situations that can hinder their progress in making positive changes. The group setting engages participants in sharing their experiences and supporting each other in making the lifestyle changes a routine part of their lives.  The yearlong prevention program consists of 16 one-hour core sessions and six monthly post-core follow up sessions  aimed at helping participants maintain their healthier lifestyles and continue their efforts to prevent the onset of diabetes.

For more information on the Imperative’s participation in the CDC National Diabetes Prevention Program, contact Angela Ford, Project Manager, at 202-548-4000, or by email at [email protected]





Diabetes News

Published Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The larger your waist circumference, the greater your risk for type 2 diabetes, a new study has found.The study examined the association between waist circumference, body-mass index (BMI, a measurement of body fat based on height and weight) and type 2 diabetes.

Published Monday, November 14, 2011

Women who drink two or more sugary drinks a day, even if they are of normal weight, appear to be at higher risk of heart disease and diabetes, according to a new study presented over the weekend to the American Heart Association's (AHA's) Scientific Sessions 2011, which is running from 12-16 November, in Orlando, Florida.

Published Thursday, October 20, 2011
African American women who develop gestational diabetes mellitus during pregnancy face a 52 percent increased risk of developing diabetes in the future compared to white women who develop GDM during pregnancy, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published online in the journal Diabetologia. more»
Published Thursday, October 20, 2011
Low-income moms who move from very poor neighborhoods to less disadvantaged ones lower their risk of becoming extremely obese and developing type 2 diabetes, a study reveals. more»
Published Sunday, October 2, 2011
Of African-American women age 20 or older, 12 percent have type 2 diabetes, and the rate only accelerates as their ages increase. Of all cases of type 2 diabetes in the United States, 15 percent are African-American women. more»
Published Thursday, July 21, 2011
For those women who are planning a pregnancy and already have diabetes, or for the 135,000 women each year who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, the risks to themselves and their babies are significant. The American Diabetes Association's Diabetes & Pregnancy: A Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy for Women Who Have Type 1, Type 2, or Gestational Diabetes provides important insights to prevent diabetes complications by properly managing blood glucose levels, making lifestyle changes, and taking medications. more»
Published Friday, October 22, 2010
One in three American adults is projected to have diabetes by 2050, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Friday. An aging population, diabetics living longer and the increasing number of at-risk minorities are the main factors contributing to the rise according to the report. However the prevalence of more»
Published Wednesday, March 31, 2010
As the nation marks American Diabetes Month, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released a new report today, Preventing and Treating Diabetes: Health Insurance Reform and Diabetes in America. The report comes one day after Sebelius toured the East Manatee Family Healthcare Center in Bradenton, Fla. At the center, Secretary Sebelius held a roundtable discussion more»