Women with diagnosed diabetes across the life stages: underuse of recommended preventive care services

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2008 Nov;17(9):1415-23. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2008.1125.


Diabetes is a common and costly disease. In 2007, an estimated 24 million people in the United States had diabetes, with almost half of these being women. Diabetes increases the risk of morbidity and mortality from several conditions, including cardiovascular disease, several types of cancers, influenza and pneumococcal infection, and kidney, eye, and periodontal diseases. The aim of this study was to examine the quality of care that women with diabetes receive and to assess how receipt of some clinical preventive services and screening for common conditions associated with diabetes vary according to socioeconomic factors. Our findings indicate that use of diabetes-specific preventive care among women is low, with the youngest women (< or =45 years) and those with low educational levels being the least likely to receive the recommended services. Women with diabetes were less likely than women without diabetes to receive a Pap smear, with the oldest women (> or =65 years) being the most vulnerable. Women with diabetes who were poor and nonwhite were less likely than more affluent and white women to receive a pneumococcal vaccination. This study's findings suggest that having a chronic disease may serve as a barrier to the receipt of recommended preventive care among women. Effective interventions should be designed to meet the needs of the most vulnerable women with diabetes, in particular, those who are at the extremes of the life cycle, are poor, and have low levels of education. Programs should use a life stage approach to address the unique needs of women with diabetes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Chronic Disease / prevention & control*
  • Comorbidity
  • Dental Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Diabetes Mellitus* / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus* / prevention & control
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Preventive Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States
  • United States Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
  • Young Adult


  • Pneumococcal Vaccines