Glycemic control and sponsor rank of military dependents with type 1 diabetes mellitus

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Abstract

Background:

Disparities in glycemic control are reported in children with type 1 diabetes related to differences in access to health care and socioeconomic status. In the US military, rank is an indicator of socioeconomic status, but all have complete health care access without cost.

Objective:

We sought to determine if glycemic control in children with type 1 diabetes differs if their sponsor (parent) is an officer vs. enlisted military service member.

Methods:

We performed a cross-sectional retrospective chart review of children with type 1 diabetes >1 yr duration whose parent is a military service member.

Results:

A total of 281 subjects met study criteria, 136 (48.4%) having an enlisted and 145 (51.6%) having an officer sponsor. The groups differed by race with 38.2% black in the enlisted and 9% black in the officer group (p < 0.001). The median enlisted average hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) over the most recent year of available data was significantly higher than the officer group (9.2 vs. 8.4%, p < 0.001). The difference remained significant when controlled for age and race. Diabetes-related hospitalizations were greater in the enlisted group (39.0 vs. 19.3%, p < 0.001). More subjects in the officer group were on insulin pumps (54.5 vs. 28.7%, p < 0.001).

Conclusion:

Dependent children of enlisted service members with type 1 diabetes have higher HbA1c levels, more diabetes-related hospitalizations, and are less likely to use insulin pumps than children of officers. These differences are likely linked to socioeconomic status and education levels given the universal access to health care within the military system.

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