Racial/ethnic disparities in gestational diabetes mellitus: findings from a population-based survey

Womens Health Issues. 2010 Sep;20(5):323-8. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2010.06.003.


Purpose: We sought to explore racial/ethnic disparities in the prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in a population-based sample.

Methods: Data from the Oregon Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), a stratified, random sample of postpartum women who delivered in Oregon in 2004 and 2005 (n = 3,883; weighted response rate, 75.2%) and linked birth certificates were analyzed. Hispanic, non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic American Indian, and non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander (API) women were oversampled. We categorized women as having had GDM if they gave an affirmative answer on the birth certificate or the PRAMS survey.

Results: Non-Hispanic API women had the highest prevalence of GDM (14.8%); this was true for women with both a normal and a high body mass index (BMI). Asian women were more likely to have had GDM than Pacific Islander women. On multivariate analysis, non-Hispanic APIs were significantly more likely to have a pregnancy complicated by GDM (adjusted odds ratio, 2.26; 95% confidence interval, 1.23-4.13) than non-Hispanic White women.

Conclusion: Non-Hispanic API women, especially Asian women with both normal and high BMI, have increased risk of GDM. Future research should examine the unique risk factors experienced by Asians and health practitioners should be vigilant in screening for GDM regardless of BMI.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Asian Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes, Gestational / ethnology*
  • Diabetes, Gestational / prevention & control
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Behavior / ethnology*
  • Health Status*
  • Hispanic Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Maternal Behavior / ethnology*
  • Oceanic Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Oregon / epidemiology
  • Population Surveillance
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Assessment
  • Young Adult