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Am J Public Health. 2000 Aug;90(8):1288-93.

Type 2 diabetes is prevalent and poorly controlled among Hispanic elders of Caribbean origin.

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USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA.



We estimated prevalence and control of type 2 diabetes in Puerto Rican, Dominican, and non-Hispanic White (NHW) elders and associated them with sociodemographic and health behavior variables and with body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference.


We used a cross-sectional analysis with a sample of Hispanic elders in Massachusetts and a comparison group of NHWs (1991-1997). The analysis included 379 Puerto Ricans, 113 Dominicans, and 164 NHWs, aged 60 to 96 years, with complete questionnaires and blood samples.


Type 2 diabetes was significantly more prevalent among Puerto Ricans (38%) and Dominicans (35%) than among NHWs (23%). Differences remained after covariates were adjusted for. Hispanics with diabetes were approximately 3 times more likely to use insulin than NHWs. Puerto Ricans were 2 times, and Dominicans 3 times, more likely to have glycosylated hemoglobin concentrations of 7% or above than NHWs. BMI and waist circumference were individually associated with diabetes. When included in the model together, waist circumference, but not BMI, remained independently associated with diabetes.


Ethnicity was more strongly associated with diabetes status and control than were socioeconomic or measured health behavior variables, suggesting that genetic or other culturally related factors may explain these differences.

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