Assessing Diabetes and Factors Associated with Foregoing Medical Care among Persons with Diabetes: Disparities Facing American Indian/Alaska Native, Black, Hispanic, Low Income, and Southern Adults in the U.S. (2011–2015)
OBJECTIVE To compare American-Indian and Caucasian mortality rates from diabetes among tribal Contract Health Service Delivery Areas (CHSDAs) in the Great Plains Region (GPR) and describe the disparities observed. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Mortality data from the National Center for Vital Statistics and Seer*STAT were used to identify diabetes as the underlying cause of death for each decedent in the GPR from 2002 to 2010. Mortality data were abstracted and aggregated for American-Indians and Caucasians for 25 reservation CHSDAs in the GPR. Rate ratios (RR) with 95% CIs were used and SEER*Stat V.8.0.4 software calculated age-adjusted diabetes mortality rates. RESULTS Age-adjusted mortality rates for American-Indians were significantly higher than those for Caucasians during the 8-year period. In the GPR, American-Indians were 3.44 times more likely to die from diabetes than Caucasians. South Dakota had the highest RR (5.47 times that of Caucasians), and Iowa had the lowest RR, (1.1). Reservation CHSDA RR ranged from 1.78 to 10.25. CONCLUSIONS American-Indians in the GPR have higher diabetes mortality rates than Caucasians in the GPR. Mortality rates among American-Indians persist despite special programs and initiatives aimed at reducing diabetes in these populations. Effective and immediate efforts are needed to address premature diabetes mortality among American-Indians in the GPR.