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RAND finds cases of undiagnosed diabetes drop sharply
Date:8/13/2007

The number of men in the United States with undiagnosed diabetes has declined sharply over the past 25 years, with Hispanics and African-Americans no longer more likely than whites to unknowingly have the disease, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

Study author James P. Smith found that in 1999-2002 about 20 percent of American men who had diabetes did not know they had the disease, in contrast to 25 years ago when about half of the men with diabetes were undiagnosed.

Ethnic disparities among those with undiagnosed diabetes essentially disappeared during the same period, a sign that diabetes programs targeting minority groups have encouraged more people to get tested, according to the study appearing in the August edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

While undiagnosed diabetes remains a significant problem, weve done an excellent job of eliminating the disproportionate amount of undiagnosed disease among African-Americans and Hispanics, said James P. Smith, the studys sole author and corporate chair of labor market and demographic studies at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.

On a less positive note, Smith found that while disparities in undiagnosed diabetes disappeared over the past 25 years, new disparities have developed based upon education levels. Less educated American males are now less likely to have their diabetes diagnosed than those men with more schooling.

If we only target disparities by race and ethnicity, we run the risk of missing other equally important health disparities that affect those least able to deal with them, Smith said.

The study also found the rate of growth of diabetes prevalence is not as high or as dramatic as often projected. Smith found that during the period studied, the proportion of men diagnosed with diabetes jumped from about 3 percent to 7 percent -- a more than doubling of the prevalence rate. However, when undiagnosed
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Contact: RAND Office of Media Relations
media@rand.org
703-413-1100 x5117
RAND Corporation
Source:Eurekalert

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