Research Papers:

Socioeconomic status is associated with global diabetes prevalence

Zhiye Xu, Dan Yu, Xueyao Yin, Fenping Zheng and Hong Li _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:44434-44439. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.17902

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Zhiye Xu1, Dan Yu2, Xueyao Yin1, Fenping Zheng1 and Hong Li1

1Department of Endocrinology, The Affiliated Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, 310016, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China

2Department of Endocrinology, Zhejiang Hospital, 310013, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China

Correspondence to:

Hong Li, email: [email protected]

Keywords: diabetes, prevalence, socioeconomic status, human development index (HDI)

Received: February 22, 2017     Accepted: April 27, 2017     Published: May 16, 2017


The incidence of diabetes is increasing globally. We investigated the relationship between diabetes prevalence and patient socioeconomic status across multiple countries. We searched PubMed to identify population-based surveys reporting diabetes prevalence between 1990 and May 2016. Search results were filtered, and Human Development Index (HDI) values from the United Nations Development Programme were used to assess socioeconomic status for a given nation. Our analysis included 45 national surveys from 32 countries. Diabetes prevalence was positively correlated with national HDI (r = 0.421 P = 0.041) in developing countries, and negatively correlated with HDI (r = −0.442 P = 0.045) in developed countries. Diabetes prevalence trends were the same in women and men, although men were associated with increased diabetes risk in developed countries (r = 0.459 P = 0.048). Thus, diabetes prevalence rises with increasing HDI in developing countries, and this is reversed in developed countries. Ours is the first study to investigate the relationship between diabetes and socioeconomic status at global level using HDI values. These results will aid in evaluating global diabetes prevalence and risk with respect to patient socioeconomic status, and will be useful in the development of policies that help reduce disease incidence.

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