Diabetes and Obesity: Is there a Rural-Urban Difference in the Burden?

Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2006
Project completed:
August 2008

Diabetes-related morbidity and mortality are primarily attributable to other morbidities such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and complications such as lower extremity amputations, blindness and visual impairment, leading to millions of dollars in healthcare expenditures. Total cost of diabetes care in the United Stated is said to be over $132 billion. The purpose of this proposal is to examine the rural-urban difference in the current economic burden of diabetes and obesity and related co-morbidities and complications among those with diabetes in the US. We will examine the cost burden of diabetes, obesity, and the two together as reflected in Health Care Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) and Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) 2003-2004 databases. We will also examine the representativeness of databases by comparing HCUP and MEPS databases with respect to the prevalence of diabetes and overweight.

Results from this study will provide information on the current economic burden resulting from healthcare utilization by persons with diabetes and obesity and from related complications and on distribution of that burden across rural and urban settings. Knowing the joint costs of the two conditions can help policy makers determine the best way to allocate scarce healthcare resources.


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