Background: Northern Israel is characterized by a multi-ethnic population. We looked for differences in the risk factors for hyperglycemia in Jews, Muslims and Druze without diabetes.

Methods: Adult visitors to our Medical Center without known diabetes were included in the study. A point-of-care (POC) capillary blood glucose level with institutional glucometer and a seated blood pressure were measured and additional data were collected from an interview. We excluded people with hypoglycemic drug usage, acute disease, glucocorticoid usage, pregnancy and capillary blood glucose in the diabetes range. The blood glucose levels were divided according to last caloric intake to postprandial (4 hours or less) or pre-prandial (more than 4 hours). Hyperglycemia was defined as pre-prandial blood glucose level ≥100 mg/dl or postprandial glucose level ≥140 mg/dl. High systolic blood pressure was defined as ≥140 mm Hg. Backward stepwise logistic regression was used to identify the factors independently associated with hyperglycemia.

Results: A total of 1062 Jews, 419 Muslims and 341 Druze were included in the analysis. 57% of Muslims, 44% of Jews and 34% of Druze reported that they are religious. Compare to Jews, Muslims had increased risk for hyperglycemia (OR 1.73, 95% CI 1.22-2.43, p=0.002) and Druze had no significant difference. After adjusting for sex, high systolic blood pressure and fewer than 12 years of education, age was a significant risk factor for hyperglycemia in all three religions and obesity was an independent risk factor for Druze (OR 2.45, 95% CI 1.28-4.69, p=0.07) and Muslims (OR 2.25, 95% CI 1.31-3.86). Only religious Muslims had an independently lower risk for hyperglycemia than non-religious Muslims (OR 0.5, 95% CI 0.29-0.86, p=0.012).

Conclusion: Religion and religiosity are independently associated with hyperglycemia in people without diabetes. Muslims in north Israel have increased risk for hyperglycemia compared to Jews but this risk is lower in religious people.


A. Bashkin: None. M. Shehadeh: None. R. Yaacovy: None. M. Nodelman: None. A. Zur: None. M. Barhoum: None.

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. More information is available at