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Diabetes-Related Risk Factors Across Hispanic Subgroups in the Hispanic Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (1982–1984)


  • Judith Aponte

    1. R.N., B.C., C.C.M., D.N.Sc., is Assistant Professor, Hunter College, Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, City University of New York, New York, New York
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Judith Aponte, 425 East 25th Street, Mailbox #888, New York, NY 10010. E-mail:


ABSTRACT Objective: The Hispanic Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (HHANES) was utilized to examine diabetes-related risk factor variables between and among 3 Hispanic subgroups.

Design: The study design that was conducted was descriptive using the HHANES secondary data set.

Sample: The sample included individuals between 20 and 74 years of age, self-identified as Mexican American, Puerto Rican, and/or Cuban American and had been told by a doctor that they had diabetes.

Measurements: The 5 diabetes-related risk factor variables were obesity measured by body mass index (BMI), hypertension by systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP), hyperlipidemia by cholesterol and triglyceride levels, renal insufficiency by blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and creatinine and fasting plasma glucose.

Results: This study demonstrates significant differences between specific subgroups through chi-square. SBP in Cuban Americans was significantly higher than that of Puerto Ricans (28.39 mmHg) and of Mexican Americans (25.94 mmHg). Cuban Americans also had significantly higher cholesterol values than Mexican Americans (88.49 mg/dL) and Puerto Ricans (84.49 mg/dL). The only significant difference for triglyceride was between Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans (37.25 mg/dL). For BUN, there were significant differences when Cuban Americans (9.06 mg/dL) and Mexican Americans (2.20 mg/dL) were separately compared from Puerto Ricans, and Cuban Americans had significantly higher creatinine values than Puerto Ricans (0.38 mg/dL) and Mexican Americans (0.25 mg/dL). Through linear regression, significant differences for the association of each diabetes-related risk factor and the risk for diabetes complications were computed for each subgroup. For Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans there were significant differences in overweight BMI (25.0–29.9 kg/m2) and obesity (≥30.0 kg/m2); for Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans and Cuban Americans in elevated SBP (130–139 mmHg) or elevated DBP (80–89 mmHg), for high SBP (≥140 mmHg) or high DBP (≥90 mmHg), and for high glucose (≥126 mg/dL); and for Mexican Americans in elevated triglyceride (≥150 mg/dL), elevated BUN (≥21 mg/dL), and elevated creatinine (≥1.5 mg/dL).

Conclusion: The findings of this study will add to the diabetes and Hispanic literature highlighting the need to evaluate Hispanic subgroups in future health behavior and outcomes research.