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Are there differences in diabetes care between rural and non-rural US adults with diabetes?
Rural Healthy People 2010 includes diabetes as a major health priority, suggesting a possible disparity between diabetes care in rural settings as compared to non-rural locales.
This cross-sectional study using population-based survey data sought to determine if there was a difference in the quality of diabetes care between rural and non-rural US adults (⩾18 years). A diabetes care index was computed from five separate dichotomous care-related variables (HbA1c checked, lipids checked, dilated eye exam, feet checked by health care provider, and diabetes education), with adequate care defined as receiving at least four of these interventions. Multivariate methods were used to detect differences in diabetes care received by individuals living in rural compared to non-rural settings.
Multivariate regression analysis revealed that US adults with diabetes living in rural communities were more likely to receive inadequate care than non-rural residents (OR = 1.205; 95% CI 1.201, 1.209). Rural residents were more likely to receive inadequate diabetes care if they were: <40 years of age, male, Caucasian, not a high school graduate, not partnered, without health insurance, inactive or without an identified health care provider. Those deferring medical care because of cost, or who did not have an annual routine physical or had fewer than two diabetes related office visits annually were also at greater risk for suboptimal care. Routine physical checkups and deferring medical care because of cost had a greater impact on diabetes care for rural adults compared to non-rural adults.
The results of this study indicated that rural residents were less likely to receive adequate diabetes care compared to their non-rural counterparts. The findings suggest that efforts to identify and to address this disparity would likely improve the outcomes for diabetic individuals living in rural communities.
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