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GAO discussed the: (1) epidemiology of diabetes among American Indians, blacks, and Hispanics; and (2) federal funding for diabetes research. GAO noted that: (1) the prevalence of diabetes is 50 to 60 percent higher among American Indians, Hispanics, and blacks than among whites; (2) there is little research on the incidence of diabetes in minority populations, but the limited data that exist suggest that incidence rates of diabetes are higher in minority populations than in whites; (3) an association between diabetes and specific genetic markers exists across all population groups, but it appears that certain environmental and lifestyle factors are necessary to trigger the disease in susceptible persons; (4) the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the agency responsible for basic and clinical research on diabetes, funded 612 diabetes research projects totalling $130 million in fiscal year 1991; (5) $19.2 million of $36 million devoted to diabetes human research was targeted to American Indian, black, and Hispanic population groups; (6) 84 of 163 projects, devoted to diabetes human research were targeted to American Indian, black, and Hispanic population groups; and (7) only a small percentage of the total diabetes funding and a small number of projects were targeted to Hispanic and black population groups in the area of prevention, behavioral, epidemiological, and clinical research.

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