Racial gaps in T1 diabetes not tied to social, economic status

From Reuters Health:http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/16/us-endocrinology-diabetes-race-pediatric-idUSKBN0LK1TR20150216

Reuters Health Social and economic status does not explain the racial gaps in the care and outcomes of kids with type 1 diabetes, according to a new study.

The finding suggests researchers look to other factors that may explain the racial gap in type 1 diabetes care, such as the perceptions of doctors and families, write the researchers in the journal Pediatrics February 16.

Previous studies done in much smaller populations have had somewhat similar findings, wrote lead author Dr. Steven Willi of the Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia in an email to Reuters Health.

More than 29 million Americans have diabetes, 5% of who have type 1, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Willi and his coauthors used data from more than 10,000 kids under age 18 in a type 1 diabetes registry, following them for at least a year. The majority of the kids were white, but 11% were Hispanic and 7% were black.

The researchers say children who were black tended to have worse control over their diabetes, compared to white and Hispanic children.

There may be another explanation, according to Dr. Stuart Chalew of Childrens Hospital of New Orleans, who wrote an editorial accompanying the results.

What is hemoglobin A1c? Chalew said. Doctors will say its the mean blood glucose, but thats a simplified way to look at it, he said. In previous studies, even when black and white patients have the same blood sugar levels, they can have higher A1c, which may be due to genetic differences, he said.

That issue wasnt really assessed in the new paper, although the results are still valuable since the sample of kids was so large, he told Reuters Health by phone.