Date of Conferral





Public Health


Kimberly Brownley


Type 2 diabetes mellitus, or T2DM, is a leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Multiple studies have found that certain dietary patterns can significantly influence the risk of T2DM. The purpose of this study was to understand the dietary patterns associated with diabetes by comparing the relative adherence to these dietary patterns by individuals in 5 stages of diabetes: no diabetes, undiagnosed prediabetes, diagnosed prediabetes, undiagnosed diabetes, and diagnosed diabetes. Using the health belief model as the theoretical foundation, the primary research question examined whether adherence to specific dietary patterns significantly differed between individuals in different stages of diabetes. This question was important for understanding the dietary behaviors of individuals in early or unknown stages of diabetes that may lead to more harmful health consequences. Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (n = 15,237), multiple logistic regression analyses compared the odds of adherence to specific dietary patterns, adjusting for covariates. There was no statistically significant association between dietary pattern adherence and diabetes status. However, certain covariate factors-such as age and gender-were found to significantly influence the odds of high adherence to certain dietary patterns. Specifically, males were significantly more like than were females to adhere to diets associated with increased T2DM risk, and adults aged 50 years and older were significantly more likely than were younger adults to adhere to diets associated with decreased T2DM risk. The impact of these findings could lead to more targeted interventions promoting better eating habits and reduced T2DM incidence among U.S. adults aged 20 years older.