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Understanding health disparities in diabetes

Addressing gaps key to improving population health


Alina Neuberger, MD, MBA, Senior Medical Director, Medical Affairs

White Paper

Understanding Health Disparities in Diabetes

Addressing Gaps Key to Improving Population Health

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There are more than 34 million Americans living with diabetes, a disease that costs the U.S. more than $327 billion per year. However, the disease does not affect all segments of the population equally.1


Diabetes is one of the clearest examples of how social determinants of health impact populations differently. Defined as “conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health,” social determinants impact every aspect of health and care including disease burden access to care, and outcomes for diabetes.

The risk of being diagnosed with diabetes is 77 percent higher among African Americans and 66 percent higher among Latinos/Hispanics, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.2

African Americans, Native Americans and non-white Hispanics have a three to seven times higher incidence of kidney and liver failure, and two to four times the rate of amputations than Whites.3


African Americans, Native Americans and non-White Hispanics have:

  • 3-7x
    incidence of kidney
    and liver failure
  • 2-4x
    the rate of amputations
    than Whites


To mitigate and eventually eliminate health disparities an ambitious, focused, and practical program is needed. This white paper explores social determinants and disparities in diabetes care as well as potential approaches to addressing them.

Data source, unless noted otherwise, CVS Health Enterprise Analytics, 2020.

CVS Health uses and shares data as allowed by applicable law, and by our agreements and our information firewall.

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Image source: Licensed from Getty Images, 2020.

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