Internal and Emergency Medicine

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 327–340 | Cite as

Disparities in type 2 diabetes prevalence among ethnic minority groups resident in Europe: a systematic review and meta-analysis

  • Karlijn A. C. MeeksEmail author
  • Deivisson Freitas-Da-Silva
  • Adebowale Adeyemo
  • Erik J. A. J. Beune
  • Pietro A. Modesti
  • Karien Stronks
  • Mohammad H. Zafarmand
  • Charles Agyemang
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Focus on healthcare and non-communicable disease in migrants


Many ethnic minorities in Europe have a higher type 2 diabetes (T2D) prevalence than their host European populations. The risk size differs between ethnic groups, but the extent of the differences in the various ethnic minority groups has not yet been systematically quantified. We conducted a meta-analysis of published data on T2D in various ethnic minority populations resident in Europe compared to their host European populations. We systematically searched MEDLINE (using PUBMED) and EMBASE for papers on T2D prevalence in ethnic minorities in Europe published between 1994 and 2014. The ethnic minority groups were classified into five population groups by geographical origin: South Asian (SA), Sub-Saharan African (SSA), Middle Eastern and North African (MENA), South and Central American (SCA), and Western Pacific (WP). Pooled odds ratios with corresponding 95 % confidence interval (CI) were calculated using Review Manager 5.3. Twenty articles were included in the analysis. Compared with the host populations, SA origin populations had the highest odds for T2D (3.7, 95 % CI 2.7–5.1), followed by MENA (2.7, 95 % CI 1.8–3.9), SSA (2.6, 95 % CI 2.0–3.5), WP (2.3, 95 % CI 1.2–4.1), and lastly SCA (1.3, 95 % CI 1.1–1.6). Odds ratios were in all ethnic minority populations higher for women than for men except for SCA. Among SA subgroups, compared with Europeans, Bangladeshi had the highest odds ratio of 6.2 (95 % CI 3.9–9.8), followed by Pakistani (5.4, 95 % CI 3.2–9.3) and Indians (4.1, 95 % CI 3.0–5.7). The risk of T2D among ethnic minority groups living in Europe compared to Europeans varies by geographical origin of the group: three to five times higher among SA, two to four times higher among MENA, and two to three times higher among SSA origin. Future research and policy initiatives on T2D among ethnic minority groups should take the interethnic differences into account.


Type 2 diabetes Prevalence Ethnic minority groups IDF geographical regions Meta-analysis 



We acknowledge the support received from Science Without Borders (SWG-122/2012) Brazil, for the work of D. Freitas-Da-Silva.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Statement of human and animal rights

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with human and animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent



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Copyright information

© SIMI 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karlijn A. C. Meeks
    • 1
    Email author
  • Deivisson Freitas-Da-Silva
    • 1
  • Adebowale Adeyemo
    • 2
  • Erik J. A. J. Beune
    • 1
  • Pietro A. Modesti
    • 3
  • Karien Stronks
    • 1
  • Mohammad H. Zafarmand
    • 1
  • Charles Agyemang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Public Health, Academic Medical CenterUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Center for Research on Genomics and Global Health, National Human Genome Research InstituteNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Clinical and Experimental MedicineUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

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