African-Americans: 12% of the U.S. Population; But 17% of All U.S. People With Diabetes

It is estimated that nearly 3 million African-Americans have diabetes – 17 percent of all diabetes patients in the United States. That figure is growing as the proportion of African-American patients diagnosed with diabetes consistently increases year to year, according to research from GfK Market Measures’ Roper Global Diabetes Group.

GfK conducted in-depth phone interviews with 151 African-American diabetes patients from July 13 through September 6, 2007, as part of a larger, nationally representative study that included a total of 2,009 diagnosed diabetes patient respondents,

The 2007 U.S. Diabetes Patient Market Study suggests that African-American patients are being diagnosed at higher rate than other patients. According to GfK, 14 percent of African-American diabetes patients were diagnosed with diabetes within the past 12 months, compared to 8 percent of other patients.

Notable Differences Between Groups

In comparing the African-American type 2 diabetes population to the rest of the type 2 diabetes population in the United States, the study uncovers several notable differences between the groups. The African-American diabetes population tends to be younger than other patients, with 73 percent under age 65 (compared with 57 percent under age 65 for other patients). Patients in this group are also diagnosed at an earlier age – 47 vs. age 51 for other patients.

According to the research, African-American patients are more likely than other patients to suffer from most of the concomitant conditions that are typical of the disease. These include cardiovascular problems, reported by 83 percent of African-Americans compared with 76 percent of other patients. African-American patients are significantly more likely to experience hypertension, with 69 percent reporting high blood pressure compared with 54 percent of other patients, putting them at greater risk for heart attack or stroke.

This group also reports more microvascular complications compared to other patients (83 percent vs. 78 percent). Finally, African-American patients are more likely to suffer severe weight issues, with 64 percent of patients in this group described as obese or morbidly obese compared with 58 percent of other patients.

A look at the therapy profile of African-Americans reveals they are slightly more likely to be treated for their condition compared to other patients: 27 percent of this group reports treatment with insulin compared with 24 percent of other patients. Both groups, however, are equally likely to be treated with non-insulin agents at nearly 63 percent each.

Syringe Use and Blood testing

African-American patients are more likely than other patients to use disposable syringes (86 percent vs. 78 percent). Correspondingly, the usage of insulin pens is lower among this population, at 19 percent compared with 25 percent of other patients. African-Americans and other patients test for their blood sugar with nearly 87 percent of each group having tested in the past month. Notably, 9 percent of African-Americans have never self-tested compared with 4 percent of other patients.

“In the African-American patient segment, the need to educate is critical especially with regard to the relatively widespread prevalence of conditions such as obesity and high blood pressure, as is the importance of regular blood glucose monitoring,” said David Jacobson, senior vice president of GfK Market Measures’ Roper Global Diabetes Group. “Like Latinos, this is a fast-growing segment and less affluent than other U.S. patients, and the relative youth of these groups may be a factor in their greater reliance on the Internet as well as on TV, family, friends and other patients for diabetes information. Overall, our research suggests African-American patients may require special marketing and communications approaches to reach them effectively.”

150 African-American Diabetes Patients Share Their Insights

Reflecting insights from 151 African-American diabetes patients, fielded via in-depth telephone interviews from July 13 through September 6, 2007, and as part of a larger, nationally representative study that included a total of 2,009 diagnosed diabetes patient respondents, GfK Market Measures’ Roper Global Diabetes Group’s 2007 U.S. Diabetes Patient Market Study provides a comprehensive perspective of the diabetes market.

About GfK Market Measures

GfK Market Measures provides health care clients with a unique mix of custom and syndicated research solutions to support the full marketing continuum. GfK Market Measures is a member of the GfK U.S. Healthcare Companies, the largest provider of custom health care marketing research services in the United States. For further information, visit For more details on this study or to schedule an interview with a GfK Market Measures executive, please contact Jessica Makovsky, group vice president of communications, GfK U.S. Healthcare Companies, at 215.283.3200 x372 or