Education and Diabetes in a Racially and Ethnically Diverse Population

Using data from the National Health Interview Survey (1997–2002), this study examined the association between education and the prevalence of diabetes in U.S. adults and whether this relation differs by race/ethnicity. The analyses were limited to non-Hispanic Blacks, non-Hispanic Whites, and Hispanics. SUDAAN was used to account for the complex sampling design.

Educational attainment was inversely associated with the prevalence of diabetes. Individuals with less than a high school diploma were 1.6 times more likely to have diabetes than those with at least a bachelor’s degree.Whites and Hispanics exhibited a significant relation between diabetes and having less than a high school education. In addition, the odds of having diabetes was stronger for women than for men.

The study concluded that educational attainment was inversely associated with diabetes prevalence among Whites, Hispanics and women but not among Blacks. Education may have a different effect on diabetes health among different racial/ethnic groups.