Socioeconomic status and incident type 2 diabetes mellitus: Data from the women's health study

Timothy C. Lee, Robert J. Glynn, Jessica M. Peña, Nina P. Paynter, David Conen, Paul M. Ridker, Aruna D. Pradhan, Julie E. Buring, Michelle A. Albert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Objectives: We prospectively examined whether socioeconomic status (SES) predicts incident type II diabetes (diabetes), a cardiovascular risk equivalent and burgeoning public health epidemic among women. Methods: Participants include 23,992 women with Hb A1c levels <6% and no CVD or diabetes at baseline followed from February 1993 to March 2007. SES was measured by education and income while diabetes was self-reported. Results: Over 12.3 years of follow-up, 1,262 women developed diabetes. In age and race adjusted models, the relative risk of diabetes decreased with increasing education (<2 years of nursing, 2 to <4 years of nursing, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctorate: 1.0, 0.7 [95% Confidence Interval (CI), 0.6-0.8], 0.6 (95% CI, 0.5-0.7), 0.5 (95% CI, 0.4-0.6), 0.4 (95% CI, 0.3-0.5); p trend<0.001). Adjustment for traditional and non-traditional cardiovascular risk factors attenuated this relationship (education: p trend = 0.96). Similar associations were observed between income categories and diabetes. Conclusion: Advanced education and increasing income were both inversely associated with incident diabetes even in this relatively well-educated cohort. This relationship was largely explained by behavioral factors, particularly body mass index.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere27670
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 14 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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