Race and gender differences in abnormal blood glucose screening and clinician response to prediabetes: A mixed-methods assessment

Prev Med. 2021 Jul;148:106587. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2021.106587. Epub 2021 Apr 27.


The projected three-fold increase in diabetes burden by 2060 in the United States will affect certain race and gender groups disproportionately. The objective of this mixed-methods study was to assess differences in prediabetes screening and clinician response to prediabetes by patient race and gender. We utilized data from 18,742 patients seen between 11/1/15 and 4/30/17 who met criteria for blood glucose screening by the 2015 US Preventive Service Task Force recommendation and had at least one visit to a primary care practice within a large, academic health system located in North Carolina. We utilized generalized estimating equations with logistic regression to assess race and gender differences in two outcomes: prediabetes screening and clinician response to prediabetes. We conducted twenty in-depth interviews (October 2018-May 2019) with physicians to assess their approach to screening for and treating prediabetes. Black patients had 11% higher odds (95% CI:1.02-1.20) of being screened for prediabetes than White patients. Men had 19% higher odds (95% CI:1.09-1.30) of being screened for prediabetes than women. There were no significant differences in clinician response to prediabetes by patient race or gender. Qualitatively, physicians reported a non-systematic approach to prediabetes screening and follow-up care related to: 1) System-level barriers to screening and treatment; 2) Implicit bias; 3) Patient factors; and 4) Physician preferences for prediabetes treatment. Targeted risk-based screening for prediabetes along with increased treatment for prediabetes are critical for preventing diabetes and reducing diabetes-related disparities.

Keywords: Diabetes prevention; Health disparities; Prediabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose
  • Diabetes Mellitus* / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • North Carolina
  • Prediabetic State* / diagnosis
  • Sex Characteristics
  • United States


  • Blood Glucose