OBJECTIVE: We examined and quantified the degree of risk for poor glycemic control and hospitalizations for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) among black, Hispanic, and white children and adolescents with diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We examined ethnic differences in metabolic control among 68 black, 145 Hispanic, and 44 white children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes (mean age 12.9 [range 1-21] years), who were primarily of low socioeconomic status. Clinical and demographic data were obtained by medical chart review. Glycohemoglobins were standardized and compared across ethnic groups. Odds ratios among the ethnic groups for poor glycemic control and hospitalizations for DKA were also calculated. RESULTS: The ethnic groups were not different with respect to age, BMI, insulin dose, or hospitalizations for DKA, but black children were older at the time of diagnosis than Hispanics (P < 0.05) and were less likely to have private health insurance than white and Hispanic children (P < 0.001). Black youths had higher glycohemoglobin levels than white and Hispanic youths (P < 0.001 after controlling for age at diagnosis). Black youths were also at greatest risk for poor glycemic control (OR = 3.9, relative to whites; OR = 2.5, relative to Hispanics). CONCLUSIONS: These results underscore and quantify the increased risk for glycemic control problems of lower-income, black children with diabetes. In the absence of effective intervention, these youths are likely to be overrepresented in the health care system as a result of increased health complications related to diabetes.

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