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Older blacks and Latinos still lag whites in controlling diabetes
Date:9/24/2007

and a research scientist at the VA Ann Arbors Center for Clinical Practice Management Research. To improve diabetes outcomes, we must do better at supporting all patients in managing their disease through treatment and lifestyle change. But we need to tailor specific interventions to address the barriers to achieving good diabetes control that African American and Latino adults with diabetes disproportionately face.

The study is based on very recent data from the Health and Retirement Study, a decades-long national effort to assess the health of adults over age 50 through regular completion of intensive questionnaires and health examinations.

Funded by the National Institute on Aging, and based at the U-M Institute for Social Research, the HRS began assessing the blood sugar levels of participants in 2003. In the older age groups where Type II diabetes is mostly found, the new study is larger than the other major source of population-wide data on this issue, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In all, 1,199 people over age 55 with diabetes were included in the new study. Their blood sugar was measured using the A1C test, which gives an average blood glucose level over the last three months and is considered a more accurate gauge of glycemic control than a simple glucose test.

The ability to obtain such an important clinical marker on a large national sample is a major step forward in using population surveys to understand health disparities in the older population, said David Weir, Ph.D., director of the Health and Retirement Study and a research professor at ISR.

Current guidelines call for people with diabetes to maintain an A1C level of under 7 percentage points, to slow the rate of damage to nerves, blood vessels and organs that can lead to deadly and debilitating diabetes complications. People without diabetes typically have an A1C un
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Contact: Kara Gavin
kegavin@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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