Type 2 Diabetes Linked to Income, Education

A Statistics Canada study released on Wednesday has found links between type 2 diabetes (T2D) and low levels of household income and education. The links, the study explains, are independent of other factors such as the well-established relationship between diabetes and excess weight.

The global prevalence of type 2 diabetes, estimated at 6.4% in 2010, is expected to reach approximately 8% by 2030. The increase in prevalence is thought to be due largely to population aging and rising rates of obesity and physical inactivity however the prevalence of T2D has also been shown to be strongly patterned by socioeconomic status, particularly among women. American data also suggest that the socioeconomic status gap in diabetes prevalence has widened over time.

Even allowing for the effects of obesity and ethno-cultural origin, the study found lower-income women were significantly more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than were their counterparts in high-income households.

It found no significant relationship between household income and the onset of diabetes in men when other factors were taken into account. Instead, the development of diabetes among men was related to being overweight or obese, and to the number of secondary behavioural factors they reported such as heavy drinking, smoking and physical inactivity.

The 15-year study is based on 12,333 respondents to the National Population Health Survey who were aged 18 or older.

Among those who had been free of diabetes in 1994-95, the study found 7.2 per cent of men and 6.3 per cent of women had either developed the disease or died from it by 2008-09.

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