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African American Leaders Call on Presidential Candidates to Propose Solutions to Chronic Disease Epidemic in Minority Communities

African Americans in South Carolina and the Nation are far more likely to suffer from a chronic diseaseWASHINGTON, D.C. (July 19, 2007) - The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) and 100 Black Men of Charleston, Inc. today called on Democratic presidential candidates to propose strategies to address the unacceptably high rates of chronic disease suffered by African Americans in South Carolina, and to discuss those strategies in detail at the July 23 CNN-YouTube Democratic Primary Debate in Charleston."It is time that our leaders step forward to provide thoughtful solutions to the growing epidemic of chronic disease," said Dr. Albert W. Morris, Jr., M.D., president of the National Medical Association (NMA) and PFCD advisory board member. "We are counting on the presidential candidates to address chronic disease, particularly its impact on minority communities, in their health care proposals and in Monday night's debate.""When it comes to chronic disease, African Americans are experiencing an unequal burden. Nowhere is this more apparent than in South Carolina, where minorities are nearly twice as likely as whites to be diagnosed with diabetes and three times as likely to die from complications," said Lee Moultrie, chairman of 100 Black Men of Charleston, Inc.Nationwide, African Americans are disproportionately affected by chronic disease and that trend is reflected in South Carolina. In 2003, African American men across the nation were 2.4 times more likely to die from prostate cancer than white men. In South Carolina, the rate was closer to 2.8 times more likely.In addition, South Carolina's African Americans are more likely to be obese than whites (36.9 percent compared to 21.5 percent). This is also the case nationally, where the rate of African American obesity (30.9 percent) is higher than that of whites (24.2 percent).The PFCD is also calling on the debate's organizers to ask the candidates about their plans to address rising chronic disease rates.Chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, are the number one cause of death and leading driver of rising health care costs in America. They account for seven out of 10 deaths and 75 percent of every health care dollar spent in the U.S. These are conditions that, with proper early intervention, diet, and exercise, could be prevented, delayed, or minimized. More than 130 million Americans today have a chronic disease.About the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease:The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is a national coalition of patients, providers, community organizations, business and labor groups, and health policy experts committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability, and rising health care costs in the U.S.: chronic disease.The PFCD's mission is to:

  • Challenge policymakers - in particular, the 2008 presidential candidates - to make the issue of chronic disease a top priority and articulate how they will address the issue through their health care proposals
  • Educate the public about chronic disease and potential solutions for individuals, communities, and the nation
  • Mobilize Americans to call for change in how policymakers, governments, employers, health institutions, and other entities approach chronic disease

Leaders in the effort represent more than 50 leading organizations from across health care, business and labor including Aetna, American Academy of Family Physicians, Alliance for Aging Research, American Academy of Physician Assistants, American College of Nurse Practitioners, American College of Preventive Medicine, American Hospital Association, American Pharmacists Association Foundation, Disease Management Association of America, Kerr Drug, Integrated Benefits Institute, International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, NAACP, Milken Institute, National Association of Manufacturers, National Medical Association, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Service Employees International Union, Sheet Metal Workers International Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and YMCA of the USA, among others.