For Immediate Release
November 09, 2009
Contact Information

Maisha Pearson
Burrell Communications

(BPRW) November is National Diabetes Month

Health Disparities Among Minority Populations Getting Worse

(BLACK PR WIRE) (November 1, 2009) (WARSAW, IN) – The statistics are alarming:
• Almost four million African Americans have diabetes.
• One in four African-American women over 55 years of age are diabetic .
• There is an estimate that 80% of black women and 60% of black men are overweight or obese (which contributes to diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, high blood pressure, among other chronic health conditions) .
Keeping weight under control plays a critical role in managing these health issues. However, many African Americans face a major hurdle: they are living with chronic joint pain.

“Every warning from governmental and non-profit health organizations implores our community to “get moving” because of the positive impact it has on combating these conditions,” explains Verona Brewton, Director of Minority Initiatives, Zimmer. “But we have failed to make the direct link between painful movement and poor health.”

A November 2006 Centers For Disease Control (CDC) report revealed that the knee is the joint that causes the most pain . Additionally, the CDC reported that African-Americans cite arthritis as
the leading condition that limits their daily activities. Arthritis is the third most common problem among African-Americans , and arthritis-attributable work limitation disproportionately affects minority groups . In a May 2007 report, the CDC projected a nationwide surge in arthritis prevalence, which caused the Arthritis Foundation to warn Americans to take action now to limit future disability .

According to Jean Pompey, Zimmer’s Back in the Groove™ program representative, “Coping with diabetes and arthritis seemed to be an uphill battle.” Before Pompey’s double knee replacements, she was not able to exercise.

“I needed to exercise to lose weight, but I was in so much pain, I couldn’t exercise. Zimmer’s Back In The Groove™ program gave me important information about the link between painful movement and poor health, and the wide range of options to eliminate joint pain,” explains Pompey.

Early intervention is key as there many options to alleviate joint pain. Knee or hip discomfort should not be dismissed as one of the natural signs of aging without discussing it with a primary care physician. Today’s treatment options offer non-surgical solutions, which provide temporary pain relief and more permanent solutions such as joint replacement. Total knee replacement (TKR) is an effective method of reducing pain and improving physical function among those with disabling knee osteoarthritis. However, a February 2009 report from the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) revealed health disparities for African Americans in getting joint replacement have worsened, from 37% to 39% between 2000 and 2006 . Although doctors performed 58% more TKR procedures between 2000 and 2006, Blacks were 39% less likely than Caucasians to get joint replacement.

Regaining mobility and being active is critical in helping to manage and defeat chronic health conditions. Healthcare disparities for African Americans in getting joint replacement represent a serious healthcare barrier to overcoming chronic health conditions through increased exercise. Zimmer’s Back In The Groove program is an education-based community partnership that addresses healthcare disparities impacting African Americans in the area of joint replacement. For more information, visit or call 1-866-923-2345