Third-Generation Mexican Adults in California Less Likely to Receive Diabetes Care

Although they are more likely than their parents to have diabetes, third-generation Mexican adults in California are less likely to receive check-ups to help them manage the condition, according to a new study.

Previous studies have found that U.S.-born Latinos are more likely to suffer from diabetes than foreign-born Latinos, due in part to the higher rates of obesity in the U.S.

This time, scientists from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research examined whether Mexican adults from varying generations received different levels of diabetes care.

The study was published Sept. 1 in the peer-reviewed journal Medical Care.

The researchers defined first-generation immigrants as those that were born in Mexico, second-generation as those that had parents born in Mexico, and third-generation as those whose parents were born in the U.S. Another category, called “generation 2.5” applied to those with one foreign-born parent and one U.S.-born parent.

Although higher generations appear to need more diabetes care, they may be less likely to get it, the researchers found.

“Our study found that higher generations were more likely to have worse diabetes care outcomes relative to first generation, even after controlling for health insurance coverage type,” the study explains.

The study looked at three diabetes-related check-ups: whether the adults had had an eye examination, foot examination or hemoglobin test in the past year. Researchers also tracked whether the adults had received a flu vaccine or had an annual doctor visit.

The researchers used data from 3,072 self-identified foreign and U.S.-born Mexican adults with diabetes, who were 35 and older. The statistics came from the 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011/2012 California Health Interview Surveys.

Increasing access to health care may not solve the problem, the researchers conclude.

“However, health care reform provisions that support the implementation of patient-centered medical homes could improve diabetes and other chronic disease management,” the study states. “Providers are encouraged to work collaboratively with patients to develop tailored, diabetes care plans as well as to identify health care access barriers.”

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