Friday Facts: Diabetes in California

Author Details

David Dexter

Communications Coordinator

Organization: California Pan-Ethnic Health Network

Go to California Pan-Ethnic Health Network

Welcome to Friday Facts! Each week we’ll be taking a look at a specific chart from the Data & Resources section of our website. This week we’re focusing on diabetes in California.

The rates of diabetes in California (and across the country for that matter) have been cause for concern for quite a while. According to a recent report from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), over 2.3 million Californians have been diagnosed with diabetes, with the vast majority (1.9 million) being Type 2. Diabetes is also the seventh leading cause of death in the state, with roughly 8,000 dying of complications each year.

As you can see in this chart from our Data & Resources section, the most recent California Health Interview Survey – conducted by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research – found that there are some noticeable disparities in diabetes rates. Native Americans (13.9%), African Americans (11.4%) and Latinos (9.9%) all have higher diabetes rates than Whites (7.2%).

There are many factors that lead to increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, including smoking and obesity. But according to a recent report, Burden of Diabetes in California, CDPH’s Chronic Disease Control Branch found that social and environmental determinants also play a key role. Specifically, the report points out that the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes is two times higher among Californians without a high school diploma than those with college degrees. Furthermore, the rate of diabetes is almost twice as high for those with family incomes below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level compared to those with incomes at or above 300%. This year, 200% of the Federal Poverty Level would amount to $23,340 for an individual and $47,700 for a family of four.

Over the years, we have done several publications on diabetes, its root causes, and how it impacts communities of color in California. From 2008’s The Unequal Landscape of Diabetes: Place-Based Solutions to End an Epidemic to 2010’s The Inextricable Connection Between Food Insecurity & Diabetes to this past year’s Not So Sweet: Confronting the Health Crisis from Sugar-Sweetened Beverages in California, CPEHN has examined many facets of this health crisis.

Currently, we employ a “health in all policies” strategy to address social and environmental factors, including poverty, education, community design, transportation, and others that contribute to higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. We are also working to expand access to health care so that all those living with diabetes can receive the proper diagnosis and treatment.

A lot of other great work is being done to prevent diabetes across California and the rest of the country. If you have or know of any good resources, please share them below in the comments.