UCLA Center for Health Policy Research study finds that diabetes prevalence is increasingly related to race, income and education levelPosted: December 20th, 2005
A new study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research - comparing data from the 2001 and 2003 California Health Interview Surveys – finds that the overall prevalence of diabetes among California adults is increasing. Nearly 1.7 million California adults age 18 and over (6.6 percent) have been diagnosed with diabetes, up from 1.5 million (6.2 percent) in 2001.
The study also finds that diabetes prevalence is strongly related to race, income and educational attainment. African-Americans and American Indians/Alaska Natives have the highest prevalence (9.3 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively) among California adults, while Whites have the lowest (5.6 percent). When prevalence is adjusted by age, it becomes clear that the disease is especially hitting California’s Latino population. For instance, among adults age 50 to 64, Latinos have a diabetes prevalence of 22.2 percent, compared to 16.2 percent for African Americans and 8.1 percent for whites.
Diabetes is also more common among California adults living below 200 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) than among those living at or above 200 percent FPL. Similarly, the disease is more than twice as common among adults who either did no attend or did not graduate from high school, compared to college graduates.
“These findings demonstrate that diabetes, with its constellation of complications, is an increasing and major health concern in the state of California,” said Allison L. Diamant, MD, MSHS, lead author the of the study and assistant professor in the Division of General Internal medicine and health Services Research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “Not only are we seeing an increase in diabetes cases, especially at younger ages, but we’re also seeing a large and growing segment of our population at risk of contracting the disease.”
Other findings from the study include:
While the prevalence of diabetes remained constant among women from 2001 to 2003, there was a significant increase among men (from 6.4 percent to 7.1 percent).
Diabetes prevalence also increased among California adults age 65 and older, from 15.1 percent in 2001 to 16.5 percent in 2003, paralleling an even greater increase nationally from 14.6 percent to 16.6 percent.
Diabetes varies dramatically by county, from 3.9 percent in Nevada, Plumas and Sierra counties to 6.9 percent in Los Angeles County to 10.9 percent in Imperial County.
Among adults not diagnosed with diabetes, 35.2 percent are overweight and 18.8 percent are obese. These 12.8 million Californians are at risk for developing diabetes and some may already have the condition.
Those diagnosed with diabetes have a higher rate of related risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure that increase the possibility of complications.
The study was funded by grants from The California Endowment.
“This report clearly illustrates the growing health divide between the socio-economically advantaged and disadvantaged,” said Robert K. Ross, M.D., president and CEO of The California Endowment. “It is unconscionable that we allow these health disparities to continue. We must boost prevention efforts in these communities and improve access to primary health care services for the uninsured so they can effectively manage their diabetes.”