(HealthDay News) – Obesity, age, race/ethnicity, hospital characteristics, and insurance type may contribute to the variability in rates of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) between states, according to research published in the May issue of Diabetes Care.

Barbara H. Bardenheier, PhD, MPH, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project State Inpatient Databases for 23 states to identify factors that contribute to variability in the rates of GDM between states.

The researchers found that rates of GDM per 100 deliveries, adjusted by age and by race, varied from 3.47 in Utah to 7.15 in Rhode Island. The major factors explaining the variability in GDM rates at the state level were the proportion of obese women (27.4%), hospital characteristics (17.6%), age (14.7%), race/ethnicity (11.8%), and insurance type (5.9%).

“Differences in GDM rates at the state level that are mostly driven by race/ethnicity, obesity, and hospital-level factors call for public health action,” the authors write. “Our findings suggest that a large proportion of GDM could be avoided with prevention of overweight and obesity among women of childbearing age.”

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