Table of Contents
ISRN Public Health
Volume 2012, Article ID 408079, 8 pages
Research Article

Racial/Ethnic Variability in Diabetes Mellitus among United States Residents Is Unexplained by Lifestyle, Sociodemographics and Prognostic Factors

1American Health Research Institute, Houston, TX 77008, USA
2Office of Health Equity Plus Inclusion, Nemours/A.I. duPont Children Hospital, Wilmington, DE 19803, USA
3Nemours Biomedical Research, Wilmington, DE 19803, USA
4Christiana Care Health System, Wilmington, DE 19899, USA

Received 5 February 2012; Accepted 26 February 2012

Academic Editors: C. M. Buchalla and C. Castro

Copyright © 2012 Laurens Holmes Jr. et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. The mortality and prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) vary across racial/ethnic groups with African Americans/blacks being disproportionately affected. However, it is unclear to what extent such disparities persist after the adjustment for covariates related to race/ethnicity and/or DM in the population. We aimed to assess racial/ethnic disparities in DM and to determine which covariates account for the observed racial/ethnic variabilities. Materials and Methods. We utilized a large cross-sectional survey of the US noninstitutionalized residents ( 𝑛 = 3 0 , 8 5 2 ) to investigate the racial/ethnic disparities in diabetes mellitus, and the degree in which the disparities are explained by the relevant covariates. Pearson’s chi-square was used to examine study variables by race/ethnicity, while logistic regression was used to assess the effect of race/ethnicity and other covariates on DM prevalence. Results. There were statistically significant ethnic/racial differences with respect to income, education, marital status, smoking, alcohol, physical activities, body mass index, and age, 𝑝 < 0 . 0 5 , but not insurance coverage, 𝑝 > 0 . 0 5 . Race/ethnicity was a single independent predictor of DM, with African Americans (non-Hispanic blacks) more likely to be diagnosed for DM compared with non-Hispanic whites, prevalence odds ratio (POR) 1.45, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.30–1.62, while Hispanics were less likely to be diagnosed, POR = 0.98, 95% CI 0.87–1.09. Similarly, after controlling for potential confounders, the racial/ethnic variability in DM between AA/blacks and non-Hispanic whites persisted, adjusted POR = 1.30, 95% CI 1.15–1.47. Conclusions. Racial/ethnic variability exists in DM prevalence and is unexplained by racial/ethnic variance in education, income, marital status, smoking, alcohol, physical activities, age, and sex.