Socioeconomic status and type 2 diabetes in African American and non-Hispanic white women and men: evidence from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Am J Public Health. 2001 Jan;91(1):76-83. doi: 10.2105/ajph.91.1.76.


Objectives: This study examined the associations of poverty income ratio (PIR), education, and occupational status with type 2 diabetes prevalence among African American and non-Hispanic White (White) women and men aged 40 to 74 years.

Methods: We analyzed cross-sectional data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, controlling for age and examination-related variables.

Results: Among African American women, there was a strong, graded association between PIR and diabetes, which remained significant after other risk factors were adjusted for. All 3 variables were significantly associated with diabetes among White women. Among White men, only PIR was significantly associated with diabetes. Controlling for risk factors substantially attenuated these associations among White women. There were no significant associations for African American men.

Conclusions: Socioeconomic status is associated with type 2 diabetes prevalence among women, but not consistently among men. Diabetes prevalence is more strongly associated with PIR than with education or occupational status. These associations are largely independent of other risk factors, especially among African American women. Economic resources should be addressed in efforts to explain and reverse the increasing prevalence of diabetes in the United States.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Black People
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Education
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Poverty*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People