Diabetes and urbanization in the Omani population: an analysis of national survey data

Popul Health Metr. 2006 Apr 24;4:5. doi: 10.1186/1478-7954-4-5.


Background: The prevalence of type 2 diabetes in Oman is high and appears to be rising. Rising rates of diabetes and associated risk factors have been observed in populations undergoing epidemiological transition and urbanization. A previous study in Oman indicated that urban-dwellers were not significantly more likely to have diabetes. This study was undertaken to determine if a more accurate urban and rural categorization would reveal different findings.

Methods: This study included 7179 individuals aged 20 years or above who participated in a cross-sectional interviewer-administered survey in Oman including blood and anthropomorphic tests. Multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted to analyze the factors associated with diabetes, first in the whole population and then stratified according to region.

Results: The prevalence of diabetes (fasting blood glucose > or = 7 mmol/l) in the capital region of Muscat was 17.7% compared to 10.5% in rural areas. The prevalence of self-reported diabetes was 4.3%. Urban residence was significantly associated with diabetes (adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 1.7, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.4-2.1), as was age (OR = 1.2, 95% CI: 1.1- 1.2), obesity (abnormal waist circumference) (OR = 1.8, 95% CI: 1.5-2.1), and systolic blood pressure (SBP) 120-139 (OR = 1.4, 95% CI:1.04-1.8), SBP 140-159 (OR = 1.9, 95% CI: 1.4-2.6), SBP > or = 160 (OR = 1.7, 95% CI: 1.2-2.5). Stratified analyses revealed higher education was associated with reduced likelihood of diabetes in rural areas (OR = 0.6, 95% CI: 0.4-0.9).

Conclusion: A high prevalence of diabetes, obesity, hypertension and high cholesterol exist in the Omani population, particularly among urban-dwellers and older individuals. It is vital to continue monitoring chronic disease in Oman and to direct public health policy towards preventing an epidemic.