Life-course socio-economic position, area deprivation and Type 2 diabetes: findings from the British Women's Heart and Health Study

Diabet Med. 2008 Dec;25(12):1462-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2008.02594.x.


Objectives: We examined whether area deprivation influenced risk of Type 2 diabetes, fasting blood glucose and insulin resistance over and above the effect of individual socio-economic position (SEP) measured across the life course.

Methods: A cross-sectional analysis of 4286 women aged 60 to 79 years from 457 British electoral wards in 23 towns.

Results: Area deprivation was positively associated with diagnosed [odds ratio (OR) 1.32, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.13, 1.53, per quintile of area deprivation, n = 2895], but not undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes after adjustment for individual life-course SEP. This association was robust to adjustment for adult health behaviours and physiological risk factors. Insulin resistance [homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) score] increased by 1.90% (95% CI 0.01, 3.82, n = 2526) per quintile of area deprivation after adjustment for individual SEP, while fasting blood glucose increased by 0.69% (95% CI 0.16, 1.22, n = 2875) after adjustment for individual SEP.

Conclusions: Area level deprivation independently influences diagnosed Type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and fasting blood glucose. Examination of more specific characteristics of places is needed to understand the mechanisms by which these effects arise.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / physiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / ethnology
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Life Style / ethnology
  • Middle Aged
  • Poverty
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology


  • Blood Glucose