Diabetes is on the rise among Americans 50 years and older, and trends among older Hispanics are particularly noteworthy, according to recently released government data that the AARP Public Policy Institute has incorporated into its interactive research and data visualization tool AARP DataExplorer.
Did you know? Diabetes rates are significantly higher among Americans age 65 and older than in any other age group. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of Americans 65 and older reported having diagnosed diabetes in 2015, according to a recent AARP Public Policy Institute analysis. Diabetes, a chronic condition in which the body is unable to produce or use insulin efficiently, leads to higher-than-normal blood sugar levels and is associated with higher risk for obesity and cardiovascular disease. Long-term complications from diabetes include damage to nerves, eyes and kidneys. Widely recognized as a major public health concern, diabetes costs the U.S. health system around $176 billion annually.
Nearly 8 percent of adults age 65 and older are food insecure, meaning they do not always have balanced meals or enough to eat because they cannot afford it. However, there are significant racial and ethnic disparities in food insecurity among older adults. Black and Hispanic seniors are over three times more likely to experience food insecurity than their white and Asian counterparts. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 black seniors are food insecure, compared to about 1 in 18 white seniors.
Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Financial Access to Dental Care among Medicare Beneficiaries: Something to Chew On
Good oral health is a vital part of general health and overall well-being. However, it requires the regular use of dental services. Yet many older adults are unable to afford the care they need to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Moreover, there are significant disparities in financial access to dental services among older adults. In 2014, twice as many older adults of color were unable to afford dental care in the past 12 months than their white counterparts (Chart).
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