Race and diabetes: A major myth

Bayo Curry-Winchell MD, MS
November 16, 2022

It’s Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell (AKA Dr. BCW), Medical Director of Community Engagement and Health Equity at Carbon Health and a family physician based in Reno, Nevada. I’m also the host of a video series called, “Beyond Clinical Walls,” where I discuss pressing healthcare issues of the day, primarily with a focus on the effects in communities of color. 

Throughout the month of November–National Diabetes Awareness Month–I am answering your questions and highlighting myths about this condition. Keep checking this blog for more answers and myth busting. 

Quick facts about diabetes:

  • According to the CDC, diabetes affects more than 37 million adults.
  • It is the number one cause of kidney failure, adult blindness, and lower limb amputation. 
  • Unfortunately, 1 in 5 don’t know they have diabetes.

Myth #1: Race and diabetes

I often see or hear about in health reports that an individual's race increases their risk for developing diabetes. 

To understand why this is not true, it's important to first acknowledge that race is a social construct. It’s not the same as your ethnicity or genetics. Therefore, your race does not increase your risk of developing diabetes.

Several factors, such as family history, may increase your risk of diabetes; however, race should not be included as a risk factor. 

It’s important to debunk the false narrative that is associated with race and the development of this disease.  

Diabetes is not a problem or issue for a specific race. It’s a disease that can affect anyone.

I’m Dr. BCW; thank you for spending time with me, and I look forward to answering more questions about diabetes in the coming weeks. 

Bayo Curry-Winchell MD, MS

Bayo Curry-Winchell, MD, is a regional clinical director at Carbon Health and the company’s co-interim director for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. She lives and practices medicine in Reno, Nevada.