Introduction: Diabetes is a major cause of morbidity and mortality and its global prevalence is growing rapidly. A simple and robust approach to estimate the prevalence of diabetes is essential for governments to set priorities on how to meet the challenges of the disease. The International Diabetes Federation has developed a methodology for generating country-level estimates of diabetes prevalence in adults (20-79 years).
Methods: Using country-level data sources from peer-reviewed studies, national health statistics reports, commissioned studies on diabetes prevalence, and unpublished data obtained through personal communication, we use logistic regression to generate estimates of the prevalence of diabetes. An approach matching countries on ethnicity, geography, and income group is used to fill in gaps where original data sources are not available. The methodology also uses changes in urbanization and population to generate estimates and projections on the prevalence of diabetes in adults.
Conclusion: Diabetes prevalence estimates are very sensitive to the data from which they are derived. The revised IDF methodology for estimating diabetes prevalence is a transparent, reproducible approach that will be updated annually. It takes data-driven approaches to filling in gaps where data are not available and where assumptions have to be made. It uses a qualification system to rank data sources so that only the highest quality data are used.
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