This article examines changes in the prevalence of diabetes in Mexican Americans aged 75 and older between the early 1990s and the mid-2000s. Mexican Americans have higher rates of diabetes than non-Hispanic White Americans but there is little information about the toll of diabetes on older Mexican Americans.
The authors examined data from the Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly. The sample included 1,132 older Mexican American individuals from 1993-1994 and 902 older Mexican American individuals from 2004-2005. Researchers compared the rates of diabetes and diabetes complications between the two time periods.
- The prevalence of diabetes among older Mexican Americans almost doubled between 1993-1994 and 2004-2005, increasing from 20 percent to 37 percent of the population. The higher prevalence of diabetes in 2004-2005 may be at least partially due to changes in the diagnostic criteria for diabetes.
- Complications from diabetes did not change over this time period, except for an increase in the rate of lower body disability.
Diabetes rates among older Mexican Americans have increased dramatically since 1994, while complications from diabetes have not changed. Since other elderly populations have seen reductions in complications from diabetes over a similar time frame, this research suggests that older Mexican Americans may benefit from improved public health and preventive care diabetes interventions.