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Due to the high prevalence of diabetes risk factors in rural areas, it is important to identify whether differences in diabetes screening rates between rural and urban areas exist. Thus, the purpose of this study is to examine if living in a rural area, rurality, has any influence on diabetes screening across the US.
Participants from the 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017 nationally representative Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys who responded to a question on diabetes screening were included in the study (n = 1,889,712). Two types of marginal probabilities, average adjusted predictions (AAPs) and average marginal effects (AMEs), were estimated at the national level using this data. AAPs and AMEs allow for the assessment of the independent role of rurality on diabetes screening while controlling for important covariates.
People who lived in urban, suburban, and rural areas all had comparable odds (Urban compared to Rural Odds Ratio (OR): 1.01, Suburbans compared to Rural OR: 0.95, 0.94) and probabilities of diabetes screening (Urban AAP: 70.47%, Suburban AAPs: 69.31 and 69.05%, Rural AAP: 70.27%). Statistically significant differences in probability of diabetes screening were observed between residents in suburban areas and rural residents (AMEs: − 0.96% and − 1.22%) but not between urban and rural residents (AME: 0.20%).
While similar levels of diabetes screening were found in urban, suburban, and rural areas, there is arguably a need for increased diabetes screening in rural areas where the prevalence of diabetes risk factors is higher than in urban areas.