Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New Yorkers Hit Hard by Diabetes

A new study by the New York City Health Department shows an alarming 71% rise in deaths and hospitalizations from diabetes. The City death rate due to diabetes rose between 1990 and 2003, and during that time patients were hospitalized 80% more often than in the rest of the U.S. Black New York diabetics die at three times the rate of whites, while the Hispanic death rate rose 169% since 1990. In low-income neighborhoods, such as East Harlem, residents are hospitalized for diabetes at 10 times the rate of those from upscale neighborhoods, like the upper East Side. Diabetes is directly linked to obesity, and obesity is often extremely high in low income neighborhoods where there is lack of access to fresh, nutritious food. The city also has a lower average income than nationally. According to Dr. Shadi Chamany, the city Health Department's head of diabetes prevention and control, "That can be a risk factor if people are more likely to be overweight or obese and less physically active because they live in a particular neighborhood where they don't have access to resources."

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