Diabetes Prevention for African-Americans: a Scoping Review

Erica Charlot Spears, Margaret J. Foster, Timethia J. Bonner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is the most common form of diabetes and is preventable in many instances. African-Americans are disproportionately represented in T2DM statistics. The strategies in place to prevent disease development in this population warrant critical examination. Methods: A scoping review of literature was conducted to provide an overview of the largely inconsistent approach to African-American T2DM prevention research. Specific research questions included: (1) How are African-Americans treated in the existing T2DM literature? (1a) Are African-Americans primarily treated as a homogenous group in the literature? (1b) Has the literature addressed middle-class African-Americans? (2) Is the T2DM prevention literature focused on primary or secondary prevention? The review included articles published from 1985 to 2016, examining the methodology and approach toward African-Americans in each article. Results: The review yielded 653 unduplicated articles. Through title, abstract, and full-text screenings, 381 articles were excluded. Of the remaining articles only 37% were focused on the prevention of T2DM development, and only 22.7% described a participant education component. The majority of the studies were observational (n = 19). Only 53.5% included majority African-American participants. Samples ranged from 2 to 27,899 individuals, which were often treated as homogeneous groups in terms of income and/or education (62.3%). Conclusion: The approach to T2DM prevention in African-Americans is largely inconsistent, which may be contributing to stagnation in this area of research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)947-965
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of racial and ethnic health disparities
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • African-American
  • Health disparities
  • Prevention
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus


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