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Data, Surveillance, and Epidemiology

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Data, Surveillance, and Epidemiology

Graph showing the percent of adults diagnosed with diabetes, Montana and US. Graph shows the increasing trend of diagnosed diabetes in both the US* and MT**. The US rate is higher than MT with a trend from 7.0% in 2004 to 9.7% in 2014. MT increased from 6.0% in 2004 to 8.8% in 2014. Data source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. *Nationwide (States and DC). National data for 2014 are not available. **Due to changes in survey methodology, starting in 2011, estimates can no longer be compared to estimates from previous years. All years going forward from 2011 can be compared to one another.

How common is diabetes and prediabetes?


  • About 65,000 Montana adults currently have diagnosed diabetes.1
  • The percentage of Montana adults with diagnosed diabetes increased from 2.8% in 1990 to 8.0% in 2016.1
  • Diabetes is more common among American Indians/Alaska Natives than White non-Hispanics in Montana. In 2015, 19.0% of American Indian/Alaska Natives in Montana reporting having diagnosed diabetes compared to 7.3% of White non-Hispanics.1
  • In the US, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes increased from 1.5 million in 1958 to 21 million in 2012.3


  • In 2013, only 6.8% of Montana adults reported having pre-diabetes.1
  • However, data from a national survey suggests that the prevalence of pre-diabetes is 38%. Based on this, it is estimated that 300,000 Montana adults have pre-diabetes.2
  • In the US, it is estimated that 86 million people have pre-diabetes.3

Data sources:

  1. Montana Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 1990-2016.
  2. NHANES 2011-2012.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Diabetes Statistics Report 2014.

What is epidemiology?

Epidemiology is the study of how often diseases occur in different groups of people and why.1 Epidemiologists collect or use existing data to answer the who, what, when, and where of disease in the human population and conduct analyses to answer the why and how to help plan and evaluate strategies to prevent illness and as a guide to the management of patients in whom disease has already developed.

Data source: 

  1. The British Medical Journal. 

What data sources inform us about pre-diabetes and diabetes?

The Montana Diabetes Program uses variety of data for diabetes surveillance and evaluation, reports, grant reporting, and to direct program decisions to reduce the prevalence of diabetes, the morbidity from diabetes, and the development of complications of diabetes among Montana residents. Below are data sources used to generate pre-diabetes and diabetes statistics specific to Montana population. To protect the confidentiality, data sets do not contain individual identifiers.

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

Collects information on health risk behaviors, preventive health practices, and health care access primarily related to chronic disease and injury. The BRFSS provides data starting from 2003 which has several questions related to diabetes. The data can be stratified by age, race, sex, income, education, disability, and region.

Birth and Death Records

Vital statistics data are obtained from the birth and death certificates of all Montana residents, covering birth and deaths that occur both in state and elsewhere. The Vital Statistic Analysis Unit produces annual reports with state and county level data listing the leading causes of death (including diabetes) and underlying causes of death (including diabetes) by year, age, sex. Go to the vital statistics page.

Montana Hospital and Emergency Department Discharge Data System

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services has a memorandum of agreement with the Montana Hospital Association (MHA) to receive hospital discharge and emergency department data. The MHDDS contains information on more than 90% of inpatient admissions in Montana. Hospitals voluntarily report to MHA.

Quality Improvement (QI) and Diabetes Quality Care Monitoring System (DQCMS)

Montana Diabetes Program uses DQCMS as diabetes patient registry to support QI in primary care and diabetes self-management education programs. This program tracks outcomes for diabetes management including A1C, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, tobacco cessation, immunizations, chronic kidney disease, foot care, and medication. The Program publishes quarterly reports based on the collected data. Go to the quarterly QI reports.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The CDC publishes national, state and county level data of diabetes and its complications.  CDC also publishes a Diabetes State Burden Toolkit to report the health economic, and mortality burden of diabetes for all states. Data can be viewed in table, graph and map formats.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS)

The CMS provides information on the prevalence, utilization and Medicare spending for Medicare beneficiaries with chronic conditions and multiple chronic conditions, including diabetes. The agency produced four dashboards where data can be viewed by region, state and county. Go to the CMS Medicare Chronic Conditions Dashboard.

American Diabetes Association (ADA)

The ADA gives an overall national statistics on diabetes including, diabetes prevalence, complications/co-morbid conditions, and cost of diabetes. Go to the ADA's Statistics About Diabetes page.


Montana Quick Stats

The Montana Quick Stats provides quick access to statistics with short description on topics related to diabetes.  

Surveillance Reports

These reports aim to increase the understanding of data related to diabetes prevention, education, and management as well as provides clinical recommendation to the health care community.

Special Reports and Presentations

The Montana Diabetes Program staff often participate in regional and national conferences and share data related to diabetes and its complications in oral and poster presentations.  These reports and presentation cover variety of topics related to diabetes.

Questions and comments on data, surveillance, and epidemiology can be sent to our Epidemiologist and Data Analyst