Diabetes in Mexico--a serious and growing problem

World Health Stat Q. 1992;45(4):338-46.


According to a recent national health survey, the prevalence of self-reported diabetes in Mexico is 1.2%, but this figure reflects the relative youth of the Mexican population. Age-specific estimates are similar to those for the United States of America, where crude prevalence is higher. Given that self-reporting usually underestimates prevalence by at least 50%, there may be as many as 1.7 million persons with diabetes in Mexico, with a prevalence of approximately 6% in the age range 30-64 years. The average age at death for Mexicans with diabetes is 57 years, compared to 69 years for the population as a whole. Diabetes is the fifth most important cause of death in the Mexican population, and the third cause in people over 45 years of age, in whom it accounts for 10% of all deaths. There is evidence for important increases in diabetes-related mortality over time. Most studies indicate high rates of complications in Mexicans with diabetes and data show that their average length of hospital stay is almost twice as long as for non-diabetic patients. The annual cost of diabetes to Mexican society may be estimated at US$ 15 million for metabolic control, US$ 85 million for additional health services and US$ 330 million for indirect costs--in total, approximately three-quarters of all government spending on health care, or approximately US$ 450 per known diabetic person per year.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diabetes Mellitus / economics
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / mortality
  • Efficiency
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mexico / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence