Questions for Mark Eberhardt, Health Statistician and Lead Author of “Prevalence of Total, Diagnosed, and Undiagnosed Diabetes Among Adults: United States, 2013-2016”
Q: Why did you decide to focus on diabetes in the United States for this report?
ME: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is the only nationally representative survey that can estimate undiagnosed diabetes, since more recent data are available to consider this subject, it was appropriate to present it.
Q: Can you explain the differences between diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes?
ME: People with diagnosed diabetes are those who report a medical history of diabetes (that is, a health care provider previously told them that they have diabetes). People with undiagnosed diabetes are those who do not report a previous medical history of diabetes, but who have laboratory results from blood specimens obtaining in NHANES which are in the diabetic range, as defined by the American Diabetes Association.
Q: How did the findings vary by sex, age, race and weight?
ME: The percent of adults with diabetes increases with age; a higher percent of men, compared to women, have total diabetes (which includes diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes); a higher percent of non-Hispanic black and Hispanic adults have diabetes and total diabetes compared to non-Hispanic white adults. The percent of adults with diabetes (diagnosed, undiagnosed, or total diabetes) is higher among those who are overweight or obese.
Q: How did you obtain this data?
ME: The data were obtained in 2013-2016 by NHANES. This is a population-based community health survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). NHANES has staff and mobile examination centers that travel around the US and obtain health-related interview, examination and laboratory information from a nationally representative sample of people in the US.
Q: What is the take home message in this report?
ME: Diabetes remains a serious common health condition among adults in the US, and a substantial percent of adults with diabetes still report not having it.