Why Data? Epidemiology and Evaluation

The Montana Diabetes Program (MDP) collects, analyzes and reports data from many different sources to help the people of Montana understand the complexities of prediabetes and diabetes and make the best decisions for their health. Staff with a variety of expertise help with this work using skills from many different disciplines:

Epidemiology The method used to find the causes of health outcomes and diseases in populations. In epidemiology, the patient is the community and individuals are viewed collectively.       Evaluation Effective program evaluation is a systematic way to improve and account for public health actions by involving procedures that are useful, feasible, ethical, and accurate.

Spatial Analysis a focus on place and space, looking at what, where and why phenomena occur. For example: Where are diseases found? How are diseases related to environment? And where do people go to seek health care? A variety of tools are used to study impact of place on health such as maps, spatial statistics, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)       Surviellance “The ongoing, systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of health-related data essential to planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health practice.” — Field Epidemiology


Public Health Terminology

Public Health Terminology
ADJUSTED MORTALITY RATE A mortality rate statistically modified to eliminate the effect of different age distributions in the different populations.
BIAS Deviation of results or inferences from the truth, or processes leading to such systematic deviation. Any trend in the collection, analysis, interpretation, publication, or review of data that can lead to conclusions that are systematically different from the truth.
CONFIDENCE INTERVAL A range of values for a variable of interest, e.g., a rate, constructed so that this range has a specified probability of including the true value of variable. The specified probability is called the confidence level, and the end points of the confidence interval are called the confidence limits.
INCIDENCE RATE A measure of the frequency with which an event, such as a new case of illness, occurs in a population at risk; the numerator is the number of new cases occurring during a given time period.
PREVALENCE The number of proportion of cases or events or conditions in a given population.

For additional terms please visit the CDC epidemiology glossary here.

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 7.3% in 2005 to 11% in 2018. MT increased from 5.7% in 2005 to 9.3% in 2018. 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 64,000 Montana adults currently have diagnosed diabetes. 1

American Indians/Alaska Native adults are disproportionately affected by diabetes than white, non-Hispanic adults in Montana.

  • Across the US, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes increased from 1.5 million in 1958 to 26.9 million in 2018. 2

This graph show the trend of diagnosed diabetes in the United States from 1958 to 2015. The prevalence of diabetes increased from 0.93% in 1958 to 7.4% in 2015.

Annual Diabetes in Montana Infographic, 2019

2019 Diabetes in Montana infographic


  • In 2017, 7.4% of Montana adults reported having prediabetes. 1
  • Many more adults are estimated to have prediabetes, but not know it. In Montana, it is estimated that over 1 in 3 (37.4%) adults have prediabetes. 3
  • Across the US, it is estimated that 88 million adults (34.5% of the adult US population) aged 18 years or older have prediabetes. 2

GIS and Spatial Analysis

MDP staff utilizes GIS software and tools such as ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Online to create maps and other visualizations with diabetes related datasets.


Where do we get our information about pre-diabetes and diabetes?

The Montana Diabetes Program uses many data sources for diabetes surveillance, evaluation, and decision making. Our goal is to benefit all Montanans by helping to prevent and reduce diabetes complications.  

Check out the list of data sources below. You can also access the   Public Health Data Resource Guide  to learn more. It is important to remember that data sets don't contain information that can identify individuals.


The DPHHS website is being redesigned and will be moved to a new platform in July. 
Please be aware that some bookmarks to the DPHHS site may need to be updated after the move.
Thank you for your patience while we complete this move.

Montana Quick Stats

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

Montana Quick Stats
Number of Montana Medicaid Expansion Beneficiaries Diagnosed with Diabetes by Month, 2016-2018 Percentage Distribution of Test Score Category of the Prediabetes Risk Score Test at Enrollment, by Generation, Montana Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), 2008-2015
Enrollment in the Montana Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) by generation, 2008-2015 Geographic Distribution of Diagnosed Diabetes and Obesity Prevalence in Montana, 2008-2012
Percentage change in distribution of participants in Body Mass Index (BMI) categories over time (Baseline, 4-month, and 10-month assessment) Diabetes Prevention Program, 2008-2013 Percentage Distribution by Gender by Age Group, Montana Diabetes Prevention Program, 2008-2013
Fall risk among adults with and without diabetes, Montana Diabetes Mortality in Montana, 2015-2019
Image of the Prevention Quality Indicators for Diabetes Quick Stat

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.

Montana Deaths Caused by Diabetes  Health Status of Veterans in Montana  Increased Risk for Falls Among those with Diabetes  Emergency Department utilization among Montana adults with diabetes  Chronic Kidney Disease among Montanans with Diabetes

Evaluation Reports

These reports are evaluations done by the Montana Diabetes program related to diabetes in Montana. 

2020 Montana Provider Prediabetes Awareness SurveyImage of the 2021 Diabetes Provider Survey Report

Special Reports and Presentations

MDP 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. Please contact the MDP to inquire about what other data may be available.



  1. Montana Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 1990-2019.  Note: These data are age-adjusted to the 2000 projected U.S. population, distribution #9, as documented in “Age Adjustment Using the 2000 Projected U.S. Population” of the Healthy People Statistical Notes, by Klein and Schoenborn.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Diabetes Statistics Report 2020.
  3. 2017 state undiagnosed diabetes prevalence, Dall et al., “The Economic Burden of Elevated Blood Glucose Levels in 2017”, Diabetes Care, September 2019, vol. 42.
  4. CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. (2017, April). Long-term Trends in Diabetes. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/statistics/slides/long_term_trends.pdf

Questions and comments on data, surveillance, and epidemiology can be sent to our   Epidemiologist,   Evaluator,   GIS Analyst, and   Informatics Specialist.