Trends in Diabetes Prevalence and Diabetes-Related Complications in Older Mexican Americans From 1993–1994 to 2004–2005

  1. Holly A. Beard, PHD1,
  2. Majd Al Ghatrif, MD1,2,
  3. Rafael Samper-Ternent, MD1,
  4. Kerstin Gerst, PHD1 and
  5. Kyriakos S. Markides, PHD1,2
  1. 1Sealy Center on Aging, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas;
  2. 2Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas.
  1. Corresponding author: Holly A. Beard, hobeard{at}


OBJECTIVE Evidence has shown that Mexican Americans have a higher prevalence of diabetes and a greater risk for diabetes-related complications than non-Hispanic whites. However, no studies have described the changes in prevalence among older Mexican Americans. The purpose of this study was to expand on the current literature by examining the trends in diabetes prevalence and diabetes-related complications in Mexican Americans aged ≥75 years from 1993–1994 to 2004–2005.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS The prevalences of self-reported diabetes and diabetes-related complications were estimated in the original cohort (1993–1994) and the new cohort (2004–2005) of the Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly (Hispanic EPESE) and were compared across the two surveys.

RESULTS The prevalence of diabetes among Mexican Americans aged ≥75 years has nearly doubled between 1993–1994 and 2004–2005 from 20.3 to 37.2%, respectively (P < 0.001). The increase in the prevalence of diabetes was similar across all sociodemographic factors. Diabetes complications did not change significantly between the two cohorts. However, the prevalence of having any lower-extremity function disability did increase between the two cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS The prevalence of diabetes in older Mexican Americans has increased dramatically. At the same time, there has been no improvement in diabetes-related complications as has been found in the general older population. These findings heighten the urgency for more effective public health interventions targeted to this population. As diabetes and obesity become more prevalent in older adults, physicians should encourage appropriate management in older patients, including early detection and glycemic control.


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    • Received May 22, 2009.
    • Accepted August 11, 2009.
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  1. Diabetes Care vol. 32 no. 12 2212-2217
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