Type 2 Diabetes in African-American and Hispanic/Latino Communities

Type 2 diabetes is a significant concern among the African-American and Hispanic/Latino communities. Both African-American and Hispanic/Latino adults are at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes than other ethnic groups, and it is the fifth leading cause of death among both populations.

Currently, nearly 13% of all African-American adults have been diagnosed with diabetes, and this community is more likely than other ethnic groups to experience serious long-term health problems over time from the disease. Hispanic/Latino adults in the United States are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic white adults, and about 12% are currently diagnosed with the disease. That’s why it is especially important that both African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos with diabetes know the risks of high and low blood glucose and work with their doctor to set and reach their A1C goal.


  • Spokesperson for A Touch of Sugar and America’s Diabetes Challenge


    You may recognize me from my television or movie roles, but what you may not know is that my family and I are part of the African-American community disproportionately affected by diabetes. My great-aunt suffered from complications of type 2 diabetes, two of my sisters are currently living with the disease, and in 2016, I was diagnosed with prediabetes. I know first-hand how this disease can change your life in every way.

    Through my family’s experiences, and my own, I’ve come to realize that there is essential information and conversation missing around diabetes, especially in the African-American community. I grew up around people who referred to the disease as “sugar” or “sugar diabetes” – there was, and continues to be, a lack of understanding around the role of high and low blood glucose, disease complications and appropriate management. Which is why, when I was diagnosed with prediabetes, it came as quite a surprise and left me feeling in the dark about the disease.

    Before my diagnosis, I had never even heard of an A1C test. But now I understand why it’s so important to know your A1C (average blood glucose level over the past 2-3 months) and work with your doctor to set and achieve an A1C goal by developing your own personalized diabetes management plan. I also know that type 2 diabetes management can be complicated, the disease can have serious consequences, and there are vulnerable groups in need of help – that’s why I want to increase awareness and education around this disease, especially among at-risk communities.

    I encourage you to share your personal story, and urge your own community to talk more openly about life with type 2 diabetes so that we can work together to bring down this epidemic.

    back to top | next section

    Latina Chef Leticia Moreinos Schwartz Talks About Type 2 Diabetes

    Spokesperson for A Touch of Sugar and America’s Diabetes Challenge

    I’m honored to share my story with you about the impact type 2 diabetes has had on my life. After living with type 2 diabetes for many years, my grandfather passed away from a stroke, one of the serious complications of the disease. Throughout the course of his disease, my grandmother struggled to care for him and she didn’t have the right resources to help him get to his blood glucose goals. The loss of my grandfather prompted my entire family to reevaluate our lifestyle and to learn more to help reduce our risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

    As a chef, a Latina, and someone who has lost a loved one to complications from type 2 diabetes, I understand that eating healthy can be one of the more difficult parts of managing diabetes. That’s why I’m passionate about empowering people with diabetes and their loved ones to learn more about healthy eating and the importance of setting and reaching their own goals.

    There’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to managing diabetes, so it’s important to work with a doctor to come up with a personalized diabetes management plan that includes diet, exercise and medicine (if prescribed by your doctor). It’s also important to understand the risks of low blood glucose and how to help reduce that risk.

    If you’re ready to make changes to start eating healthy or help support a loved one with diabetes, take the next step by sharing how you’re putting our tips into action.

    back to top