Nearly 40% of African Americans Delay Preventative Diabetic Foot Care Because of Lack of Coverage

BETHESDA, MD — 11/03/09 — New national survey results show that nearly 40 percent of African-Americans with diabetes delay a visit to a podiatrist — a critical member of a diabetes management team — because they cannot afford the necessary medical care, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).


The nationally balanced sample, which included 400 African-American men and women with and without diabetes, found that 38 percent of respondents with diabetes put off a visit to a podiatrist because they could not afford care, had no insurance, or care was not covered by their insurance plan. Additionally, while nearly all respondents (98%) agreed that proper foot care is vital, almost half (48%) admitted that they have never been to a podiatrist for a diabetic foot examination or treatment. African-Americans are twice as likely as Caucasian-Americans to develop diabetes.

“More than half of all African-Americans — 54 percent — reported in our survey that they have at least one family member with diabetes,” said APMA President Ronald D. Jensen, DPM. “Diabetes has a tendency to be genetic, and the disease truly is a family affair. It is vital that our nation’s health care reform plan include stipulations that ensure all Americans, both those with and at risk for diabetes, can afford the necessary diabetes care and management that they require.”

Studies have shown that greater public awareness of diabetic foot care could positively impact the American health care system. According to an article in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, comprehensive amputation prevention programs have reduced amputation rates up to 70 percent — saving the health care system up to $8 billion each year.

APMA’s “Diabetes is a Family Affair” campaign — which takes place during November’s Diabetes Awareness Month — encourages those with diabetes, as well as those at risk, to openly discuss the disease with family members. Diabetes, an American health epidemic, is often passed down from parents to children. While the survey found that 77 percent of African-Americans say they are willing to talk to their family about diabetes, those who do not have the disease are far less likely to do so than those who are currently suffering from it (59% vs. 95%).

Other results from the survey found that 47 percent of African-Americans with diabetes have experienced foot issues related to the disease, — which can lead to a foot or leg amputation without treatment. For the results from the survey in their entirety, or more information about APMA’s “Diabetes is a Family Affair” campaign, visit

Founded in 1912, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) is the nation’s leading and recognized professional organization for doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs). DPMs are podiatric physicians and surgeons, also known as podiatrists, qualified by their education, training and experience to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle and structures of the leg. The medical education and training of a DPM includes four years of undergraduate education, four years of graduate education at an accredited podiatric medical college and two or three years of hospital residency training. APMA has 53 state component locations across the United States and its territories, with a membership of close to 12,000 podiatrists. All practicing APMA members are licensed by the state in which they practice podiatric medicine. For more information, visit

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