Disparity in Glycemic Control and Adherence Between African-American and Caucasian Youths With Diabetes: Family and community contexts


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Abstract

OBJECTIVE -To describe sociodemographic, family, and community factors that contribute to the glycemic control of African-American and Caucasian youths with diabetes, we investigated two questions: 1) Is there a disparity in glycemic control between African-American and Caucasian youths with diabetes, and if so, what sociodemographic, family, and community factors explain the disparity? and 2) Is there a difference in the adherence to treatment between African-American and Caucasian youths with diabetes, and if so, what sociodemographic, family, and community factors explain the difference?RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS -This cross-sectional study included 146 youths with diabetes (95 Caucasians and 51 African-Americans) and their mothers. The youths were invited to participate if they had been diagnosed with diabetes at least 1 year before the study, did not have another chronic illness, and were <18 years of age.RESULTS -The findings indicate that African-American youths with diabetes are in significantly poorer metabolic control than their Caucasian counterparts (1.5% difference in HbA1c levels). Single-parent household status and lower levels of adherence partially account for the poorer glycemic control. Examination of the adherence subscales indicates that African-Americans report significantly lower adherence to diet and glucose testing than Caucasian youths.CONCLUSIONS -This study suggests that African-American youths with diabetes may be at greater risk for poor glycemic control due to the higher prevalence of single parenting and lower levels of adherence found in this population.

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