Racial-ethnic Disparities in Management and Outcomes Among Children with Type 1 Diabetes

Published in: Pediatrics, v. 135, no. 3, Mar. 2015, p. 424-434

Posted on RAND.org on March 09, 2015

by Steven M. Willi, Kellee M. Miller, Linda A. DiMeglio, Georgeanna J. Klingensmith, Jill H. Simmons, William V. Tamborlane, Kristen J. Nadeau, Julie M. Kittelsrud, Peter J. Huckfeldt, Roy W. Beck, et al.

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Previous research has documented racial/ethnic disparities in diabetes treatments and outcomes. It remains controversial whether these disparities result from differences in socioeconomic status (SES) or other factors. We examined racial/ethnic disparities in therapeutic modalities and diabetes outcomes among the large number of pediatric participants in the T1D Exchange Clinic Registry. METHODS: The cohort included 10 704 participants aged <18 years with type 1 diabetes for ≥1 year (48% female; mean age: 11.9 ± 3.6 years; diabetes duration: 5.2 ± 3.5 years). Diabetes management and clinical outcomes were compared among 8841 non-Hispanic white (white) (83%), 697 non-Hispanic black (black) (7%), and 1166 Hispanic (11%) participants. The population included 214 high-income black and Hispanic families. RESULTS: Insulin pump use was higher in white participants than in black or Hispanic participants (61% vs 26% and 39%, respectively) after adjusting for gender, age, diabetes duration, and SES (P < .001). Mean hemoglobin A1c was higher (adjusted P < .001) in black participants than in white or Hispanic participants (9.6%, 8.4%, and 8.7%). More black participants experienced diabetic ketoacidosis and severe hypoglycemic events in the previous year than white or Hispanic participants (both, P < .001). There were no significant differences in hemoglobin A1c, diabetic ketoacidosis, or severe hypoglycemia between white and Hispanic participants after adjustment for SES. CONCLUSIONS: Even after SES adjustment, marked disparities in insulin treatment method and treatment outcomes existed between black versus Hispanic and white children within this large pediatric cohort. Barriers to insulin pump use and optimal glycemic control beyond SES should be explored in all ethnic groups.

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