Diabetes prevalence in populations of South Asian Indian and African origins: a comparison of England and the Netherlands

Epidemiology. 2011 Jul;22(4):563-7. doi: 10.1097/EDE.0b013e31821d1096.


Background: We determined whether the overall lower prevalence of type II diabetes in England versus the Netherlands is observed in South-Asian-Indian and African-Caribbean populations. Additionally, we assessed the contribution of health behavior, body size, and socioeconomic position to observed differences between countries.

Methods: Secondary analyses of population-based standardized individual-level data of 3386 participants were conducted.

Results: Indian and African-Caribbean populations had higher prevalence rates of diabetes than whites in both countries. In cross-country comparisons (and similar to whites), Indians residing in England had a lower prevalence of diabetes than those residing in the Netherlands; the prevalence ratio (PR) was 0.35 (95% confidence interval = 0.22 to 0.55) in women and 0.74 (0.50 to 1.10) in men after adjustment for other covariates. Among people of African descent as well, diabetes prevalence was lower in England than in the Netherlands; for women, PR = 0.43 (0.20 to 0.89) and for men, 0.57 (0.21 to 1.49).

Conclusions: : The increasing prevalence of diabetes after migration may be modified by the context in which ethnic minority groups live.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Africa / ethnology
  • Caribbean Region / ethnology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology*
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • India / ethnology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Health / ethnology
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors