(Pre)diabetic Nation: Diagnosing Risk and Remaking Medicine in Mexico


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Sociomedical Sciences


The strict boundaries and ideal measurement of prediabetes remain contested internationally. Health officials and private donors to the health sector in Mexico, however, are urging its diagnosis and treatment as a key strategy in the nation’s fight against diabetes, and as a component of the health system’s transition toward preventive rather than curative medicine. This dissertation examines the circumstances under which officials have come to view prediabetes as worthy of diagnosis and the implications of treating individuals who are not yet sick, but are deemed at risk of developing disease. Set against a context of metabolic crisis in Mexico, where diabetes was declared a national sanitary emergency in 2016 and where experts suggest 40 percent of adults likely have prediabetes, this dissertation engages this emergent diagnosis as a lens through which to illuminate social forces, values, and assumptions currently at work in Mexican health politics and global health in the region.