Diabetes prevalence and income: Results of the Canadian Community Health Survey

Health Policy. 2011 Feb;99(2):116-23. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2010.07.018. Epub 2010 Aug 17.


This paper contributes to a growing body of literature indicating the importance of income as a key socioeconomic status marker in accounting for the increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2DM).

Methods: We analyzed data from the Canadian Community Health Survey cycle 3.1 conducted by Statistics Canada. Descriptive statistics on the prevalence of self-reported diabetes were computed. Multiple logistic regression was used to examine the association between income and prevalence of T2DM.

Results: In 2005 an estimated 1.3 million Canadians (4.9%) reported having diabetes. The prevalence of T2DM in the lowest income group is 4.14 times higher than in the highest income group. Prevalence of diabetes decreases steadily as income goes up. The likelihood of diabetes was significantly higher for low-income groups even after adjusting for socio-demographic status, housing, BMI and physical activity. There is a graded association between income and diabetes with odds ratios almost double for men (OR 1.94, 95% CI 1.57-2.39) and almost triple for women (OR 2.75 95% CI 2.24-3.37) in the lowest income compared to those in highest income.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that strategies for diabetes prevention should combine person-centered approaches generally recommended in the diabetes literature research with public policy approaches that acknowledge the role of socioeconomic position in shaping T2DM prevalence/incidence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors