All adults over 45 should be screened for diabetes every three years, but only half are, and the poor are less likely to do so

Only about half of U.S. adults that the American Diabetes Association recommends to be screened for diabetes are actually being screened, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The ADA recommends that all adults over 45 be screened for diabetes at three-year intervals, but the study found that only 53.2 percent of people in that age group had been screened in the last three years. “Up to one-third of people with diabetes are undiagnosed,” the researchers noted in a release from Health Behavior News Service.

Kentucky ranks 17th among the 50 states in diabetes, according to the 2014 “State of Obesity” report. The study also found that screening was less prevalent in minorities and those with lower socioeconomic status, which is prevalent in Kentucky.

The ADA’s president of health care and education, Marjorie Cypress, said in the release that she wasn’t surprised by the study’s findings. She explained some reasons why under-served and high-risk populations aren’t screened and suggested it might be time to take screenings to where the people are.

“Fear keeps some people from being screened,” she said. “They’re afraid of what they may learn. Others only seek medical care when they are sick, and at that time they may not be screened for diabetes because the illness that brought them to a clinic is the priority at hand. Still others stay away from health care and screenings altogether because they don’t have health insurance, although that may be changing as more people gain coverage.”

Researchers reviewed self-reported responses from 21,519 adults taking part in the 2005-2010 National Health and Nutritional Examination and the 2006 national Health Interview Survey who were screened for diabetes in the last three years. The study found that 66.4 percent of participants were overweight, yet only 47.7 percent had a blood screening test for diabetes. 49.5 percent of participants were over age 45 but only 53.2 percent of them had been screened.

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