NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 30, 2007

The diabetes epidemic is taking a large and growing toll on New York City, a new Health Department report shows, as death rates, debilitating complications, and hospitalization costs soar.

  • Some 500,000 New Yorkers -- one out of eight adults -- have been diagnosed with diabetes.
  • Another 200,000 have diabetes but don't yet know it.
  • The death rate from diabetes rose by 75 percent between 1990 and 2003.

The report charts the impact of diabetes in New York City and it exposes unacceptable disparities among neighborhoods and racial/ethnic groups.

  • New Yorkers in East Harlem, Williamsburg-Bushwick and certain parts of the South Bronx are hospitalized for diabetes at 10 times the rate of people living on the Upper East Side.
  • Residents in the most affected areas also die from diabetes at seven times the rate of New Yorkers in the least affected neighborhoods.
  • Among racial/ethnic groups, black New Yorkers have the highest death rate from diabetes, dying at three times the rate of white New Yorkers.

"Diabetes is hitting the city hard," says Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, New York City Health Commissioner.  "Tragically, it is hurting our low-income communities much more than others.  With good management, we can prevent devastating complications of diabetes, such as heart disease, blindness, leg amputations and kidney failure."

  • New Yorkers with diabetes are now hospitalized at a rate nearly 80 percent higher than the national rate.
  • And the cost of these hospitalizations has skyrocketed in recent years, hitting $481 million in 2003, up from $242 million in 1990.
  • Figures drawn from national estimates of total diabetes costs, including lost productivity and other non-medical costs, suggest that the economic impact of diabetes in New York City exceeds $6 billion annually.

Source: "Diabetes In New York City: Public Health burden and Disparities," New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, June 2007.

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