Date of Award

Winter 11-8-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Ike S. Okosun

Second Advisor

Frances McCarty

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Background: Prediabetes is a precursor condition to type 2 diabetes mellitus. Previous research and clinical trials have shown that the onset of type 2 diabetes could be delayed or prevented through structured life style modifications such as dietary changes, modest weight loss and moderate-intensity exercise. This study examines U.S adults of different ethnicities that include non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black and Mexican Americans and whether their awareness of diabetes risk is associated with their participation in diabetes risk reduction behavior, a combination of physical activity, weight control and fat/calories intake.

Methods: The 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, NHANES, was used to conduct a cross-sectional study of 4083 U.S. adults who were 20 years old and above and were aware of their diabetes risk. The association between the awareness of one’s diabetes risk and the adoption of diabetes risk reduction behavior were examined in present of other risk factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, education, annual family income, BMI, hypertension, mean systolic blood pressure, mean diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglyceride levels. Males and females were examined separately for all analyses performed. Cross tabulation was conducted and p-values were calculated by the Pearson’s chi-square test for the categorical variables which include gender, ethnicity, education, annual family income, adiposity and hypertension. One Way ANOVA and Tukey post hoc tests were conducted for the continuous variables which include age, mean systolic blood pressure, mean diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglyceride levels. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to determine the association between the main independent variable, awareness of one’s diabetes risk, and the dependent variable, adoption of diabetes risk reduction behavior, controlling for other risk factors. A p-value of <0.05 and 95% confidence intervals were used to determine statistical significance throughout all analyses performed.

Results: After controlling for age, gender, race, education, annual family income, BMI, hypertension, mean systolic blood pressure, mean diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides, results from the multivariate analysis showed that subjects who were aware of their diabetes risk were more likely to adopt diabetes risk reduction behavior (OR= 1,734, 95 % CI=1.217-2.470). Females and non-Hispanic blacks, who were aware of their diabetes risk, were also more likely to adopt diabetes risk reduction behavior compared to males, non-Hispanic whites and Mexican Americans. An increase in the levels of education, annual family income and BMI was also associated with the adoption of diabetes risk reduction behavior. Stratification according to gender and ethnicity, showed that Mexican American males and females were more likely to engage in diabetes risk reduction behavior compared to non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks (Mexican American males: OR: 2.496, CI: 0.792-7.868; Mexican American females: OR: 2.830, CI: 0.917-8.736).

Conclusion: This study provides useful insights for health care providers and public health professionals who are developing health promotion and prevention interventions to address pre diabetes before it develops into type 2 diabetes. This study also allows the development of tailored interventions for specific genders and ethnic groups that are at risk. Results of this study indicate that Mexican Americans and females (in general) are more likely to adopt diabetes risk reduction behavior. Therefore, physicians and health care providers should develop culturally, linguistically and gender- specific education materials and programs for this particular gender and ethnic group. This in turn, may reduce the overall increasing prevalence of diabetes, reduce racial and gender disparities and may have a positive impact on the overall health of the U.S. population.


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