Growing social inequality in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in Canada, 2004–2012

Kip Brown, Alex Nevitte, Betsy Szeto, Arijit Nandi


OBJECTIVES: The prevalence of diabetes in Canada has nearly doubled since 2000. Trends in social inequalities in diabetes across Canada and its different regions have not been assessed. We estimated relative and absolute social inequalities in type 2 diabetes prevalence in Canada between 2004 and 2012.

METHODS: We used the relative (RII) and slope (SII) indices of inequality to measure relative and absolute education-based inequalities respectively in type 2 diabetes prevalence in a sample of 413,453 men and women surveyed as part of the Canadian Community Health Survey between 2004 and 2012.

RESULTS: Across regions and time periods, inequalities were more pronounced for women than for men, both on the absolute and relative scales. The difference in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes between individuals with the highest level of educational attainment compared to the lowest, as reflected by the SII, expanded from approximately 2.5% to 4.5% for women and 1.4% to 2.3% for men between 2004 and 2012.

CONCLUSIONS: Monitoring and tracking social inequalities in the burden of diabetes over time can help to assess whether Canadian diabetes strategies are effective at reaching marginalized populations and mitigating inequalities. Our results signal the need for interventions to address growing social inequalities in Canada with regard to type 2 diabetes, particularly among women.


Socio-economic factors; inequalities; diabetes mellitus, type 2; epidemiology; Canada

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