Racial and ethnic disparities in diabetes mellitus and hypertension: Influence of income and insurance status in a cross-sectional study of the United States

Doriel D Ward, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Racial/ethnic disparities in diabetes mellitus (DM) and hypertension (HTN) have been observed and explained by socioeconomic status (education level, income level, etc.), screening, early diagnosis, treatment, prognostic factors, and adherence to treatment regimens. To the author's knowledge, there are no studies addressing disparities in hypertension and diabetes mellitus utilizing Hispanics as the reference racial/ethnic group and adjusting for sociodemographics and prognostic factors. This present study examined racial/ethnic disparities in HTN and DM and assessed whether this disparity is explained by sociodemographics. To assess these associations, the study utilized a cross-sectional design and examined the distribution of the covariates for racial/ethnic group differences, using the Pearson Chi Square statistic. The study focused on Non-Hispanic Blacks since this ethnic group is associated with the worst health outcomes. Logistic regression was used to estimate the prevalence odds ratio (POR) and to adjust for the confounding effects of the covariates. Results indicated that except for insurance coverage, there were statistically significant differences between Non-Hispanic Blacks and Non-Hispanic Whites, as well as Hispanics with respect to study covariates. In the unadjusted logistic regression model, there was a statistically significant increased prevalence of hypertension among Non-Hispanic Blacks compared to Hispanics, POR 1.36, 95% CI 1.02-1.80. Low income was statistically significantly associated with increased prevalence of hypertension, POR 0.38, 95% CI 0.32-0.46. Insurance coverage, though not statistically significant, was associated with an increase in the prevalence of hypertension, p>0.05. Concerning DM, Non-Hispanic Blacks were more likely to be diabetic, POR 1.10, 95% CI 0.85-1.47. High income was statistically significantly associated with decreased prevalence of DM, POR 0.47, 95% CI 0.39-0.57. After adjustment for the relevant covariates, the racial disparities between Hispanics and Non-Hispanic Blacks in HTN was removed, adjusted prevalence odds (APOR) 1.21, 95% CI 0.88-1.67. In this sample, there was racial/ethnic disparity in hypertension but not in diabetes mellitus between Hispanics and Non-Hispanic Blacks, with disparities in hypertension associated with socioeconomic status (family income, education, marital status) and also by alcohol, physical activity and age. However, race, education and BMI as class variables were statistically significantly associated with hypertension and diabetes mellitus p<0.0001.

Subject Area

Public health|Health care

Recommended Citation

Ward, Doriel D, "Racial and ethnic disparities in diabetes mellitus and hypertension: Influence of income and insurance status in a cross-sectional study of the United States" (2006). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3241401.