Trends and Disparities in Quality of Diabetes Care in the US: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999-2016

  • Shweta Kamat St. John’s University
  • Yolene Gousse St. John’s University
  • Jagannath Muzumdar St. John’s University
  • Anna Gu St. John's University
Keywords: diabetes, race and ethnicity, epidemiology, quality and outcomes


Objectives: To examine trends and disparities in the quality of diabetes care among US adults with diabetes.

Methods: Individuals aged 20 years or older with diabetes from NHANES (1999-2016) were included in the study. Quality indicators for diabetes care included Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) < 8%, Blood Pressure (BP) < 130/80 mm Hg, Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL-C) < 100 mg/dL, triglycerides < 150 mg/dL, receiving eye and foot examinations in the past year, and meeting with a diabetes educator in the past year.

Results: A total of 7,521 adults with diabetes were identified. During the 18-year study period, significant improvements in diabetes care were observed in the overall study sample. Adjusted regression analyses showed that compared with their White counterparts, Blacks were more likely to have received eye (OR=1.37; P=0.01) and foot (OR=1.42;P=0.01) examinations and met a diabetes educator (OR=1.40;P<0.01) over the past year. However, Blacks were significantly less likely to achieve treatment goals for HbA1c (OR=0.77, P=0.02), BP (OR=0.75, P<0.01), LDL-C (OR=0.68, P<0.01). Hispanics in general had suboptimal healthcare utilization for diabetes but the Hispanic-white disparities in diabetes care outcomes were attenuated after controlling for patient sociodemographic, clinical and utilization characteristics. Overall, suboptimal quality of diabetes care were particularly prominent among adults without health insurance and those with lower educational attainment.

Conclusions: In the United States, despite persistent efforts, racial disparities in quality of diabetes care still persist. Lack of health insurance and lower socioeconomic status are among the strongest predictors of poor quality of diabetes care. These findings provide valuable information in developing policies and practices to promote racial equity in diabetes care. 


Article Type: Original Research


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Received 2019-05-29
Accepted 2019-11-25
Published 2019-12-11