Diabetes mellitus is a group of chronic debilitating medical diseases characterized by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defective insulin action, production, or both. The consequences of diabetes are detrimental. Past research has linked diabetes to serious health complications such as blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage, and cardiovascular disease, all of which can contribute to premature death [17.] .
A1. Diabetes Prevalence Among Hispanics.
The Center for Diseases Control (CDC) estimates that there are approximately 17 million diabetics in the U.S. and that 35% of these individuals are unaware that they have developed the disease. Furthermore, research shows that in comparison to other groups, Hispanics are affected by diabetes disproportionately . Diabetes is extremely prevalent in states of the South and Southwest such as Texas where many Hispanics reside (See Figure 1 below). Hispanics in turn comprise approximately 10% of all diabetes cases . .
Figure 1: Age-Standardized Prevalence of Diagnosed Diabetes per 100 Adult Population by State, United States, 2000.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Adult and Community Health, data from the 2000 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
On average, Hispanics are 1.9 times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites of similar age. Mexican Americans, the largest Hispanic ethnic group, are twice as likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites of similar age  (See Figure 2 below). Furthermore, in comparison with non-Hispanic Whites, diabetic Mexican Americans have a six times greater incidence of developing end-stage renal disease (which often necessitates dialysis) and a two to three times greater incidence of retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness in the United States [23,24].