Type 2 diabetes mellitus is associated with high levels of disease burden, including increased mortality risk and significant long-term morbidity. The prevalence of diabetes differs substantially among ethnic groups. We examined the prevalence of type 2 diabetes diagnoses in the UK primary care setting.
We analysed data from 404,318 individuals in The Health Improvement Network database, aged 0-99 years and permanently registered with general practices in London. The association between ethnicity and the prevalence of type 2 diabetes diagnoses in 2013 was estimated using a logistic regression model, adjusting for effect of age group, sex, and social deprivation. A multiple imputation approach utilising population-level information about ethnicity from the UK census was used for imputing missing data.
Compared with those of White ethnicity (5.04%, 95% CI 4.95 to 5.13), the crude percentage prevalence of type 2 diabetes was higher in the Asian (7.69%, 95% CI 7.46 to 7.92) and Black (5.58%, 95% CI 5.35 to 5.81) ethnic groups, while lower in the Mixed/Other group (3.42%, 95% CI 3.19 to 3.66). After adjusting for differences in age group, sex, and social deprivation, all minority ethnic groups were more likely to have a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes compared with the White group (OR Asian versus White 2.36, 95% CI 2.26 to 2.47; OR Black versus White 1.65, 95% CI 1.56 to 1.73; OR Mixed/Other versus White 1.17, 95% CI 1.08 to 1.27).
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes was higher in the Asian and Black ethnic groups, compared with the White group. Accurate estimates of ethnic prevalence of type 2 diabetes based on large datasets are important for facilitating appropriate allocation of public health resources, and for allowing population-level research to be undertaken examining disease trajectories among minority ethnic groups, that might help reduce inequalities.