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“Diabetes Prevalence in Low-income Communities of Color in Chicago”

Author: Kimberly Rivera

Department: UIC Institute for Policy & Civic Engagement

Advisor: Dr. Joseph K. Hoereth, IPCE

LaMonica Skyes, IPCE

Abstract: In Chicago, there is a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes among racially marginalized populations. Approximately 271,833 people in Chicago have diabetes, with type 2 diabetes accounting for 95 percent of cases. Given that type 2 diabetes is most prevalent in those experiencing obesity and high body mass index, it is associated with lower socioeconomic status and its consequent circumstances of inaccessibility to sources for healthier lifestyles. This literature review aims to explore how the socioeconomic status of minorities impacts the prevalence of type 2 diabetes. More so, it will identify race, income, education, and residency as determinants of type 2 diabetes. The findings indicate that both Hispanic/Latino populations and non-Hispanic Black populations in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods are more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than non-Hispanic White populations. As minority communities often experience lower socioeconomic status, including low income, low educational attainment, and increased psychological distress, these factors contribute to limited resources for diabetes prevention. This then exacerbates the prevalence of the disease in Chicago communities. With 31 diabetes-related deaths occurring per 100,000 people in Chicago, we must recognize its relation to social status as a social issue. Policies such as the Community Health Worker Certification and Reimbursement Act aim to establish a certification program to ensure ongoing training for Community Health Care Workers (CHW). Advanced and continuous training for community health workers can best ensure that marginalized communities receive equitable support for diabetes treatment, management, and prevention.

Keywords: Type 2 diabetes management and prevention, diabetes prevalence, Chicago low-income communities of color, Community Health Worker Certification and Reimbursement Act