Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 106, Issue 3, pp e132–e139 | Cite as

Growing social inequality in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in Canada, 2004–2012

  • Kip Brown
  • Alex Nevitte
  • Betsy Szeto
  • Arijit NandiEmail author
Quantitative Research



The prevalence of diabetes in Canada has nearly doubled since 2000. Trends in social inequalities in diabetes across Canada and its different regions have not been assessed. We estimated relative and absolute social inequalities in type 2 diabetes prevalence in Canada between 2004 and 2012.


We used the relative (R11) and slope (S11) indices of inequality to measure relative and absolute education-based inequalities respectively in type 2 diabetes prevalence in a sample of 41 3,453 men and women surveyed as part of the Canadian Community Health Survey between 2004 and 2012.


Across regions and time periods, inequalities were more pronounced for women than for men, both on the absolute and relative scales. The difference in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes between individuals with the highest level of educational attainment compared to the lowest, as reflected by the SIl, expanded from approximately 2.5% to 4.5% for women and 1.4% to 2.3% for men between 2004 and 2012.


Monitoring and tracking social inequalities in the burden of diabetes over time can help to assess whether Canadian diabetes strategies are effective at reaching marginalized populations and mitigating inequalities. Our results signal the need for interventions to address growing social inequalities in Canada with regard to type 2 diabetes, particularly among women.

Key words

Socio-economic factors inequalities diabetes mellitus type 2 epidemiology Canada 



La prévalence du diabète au Canada a presque doublé depuis 2000. On n’a pas évalué les tendances des inégalités sociales pour le diabète au Canada et dans les différentes régions du pays. Nous avons estimé les inégalités sociales relatives et absolues liées à la prévalence du diabète de type 2 au Canada entre 2004 et 2012.


Nous avons utilisé un indice d’inégalité relative (RM) et un indice d’inégalité absolue (SU) pour mesurer les inégalités relatives et absolues de la prévalence du diabète de type 2 fondées sur l’instruction dans un échantillon de 41 3 453 hommes et femmes ayant répondu à l’Enquête sur la santé dans les collectivités canadiennes entre 2004 et 2012.


Dans l’ensemble des régions et des intervalles, les inégalités étaient plus prononcées chez les femmes que chez les hommes, à l’échelle absolue et relative. La différence dans la prévalence du diabète de type 2 entre les sujets les plus et les moins instruits, selon le SU, est passée d’environ 2,5 % à 4,5 % pour les femmes et de 1,4 % à 2,3 % pour les hommes entre 2004 et 2012.


Surveiller et localiser les inégalités sociales dans la charge du diabète au fil du temps peut aider à évaluer si les stratégies canadiennes de lutte contre le diabète sont efficaces lorsqu’il s’agit d’atteindre les populations marginalisées et d’atténuer les inégalités. Nos résultats montrent qu’il faudrait des interventions pour contrer la croissance des inégalités sociales au Canada en ce qui a trait au diabète de type 2, surtout chez les femmes.

Mots Clés

facteurs socioéconomiques inégalités diabète sucré, type 2 épidémiologie Canada 


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kip Brown
    • 1
  • Alex Nevitte
    • 1
  • Betsy Szeto
    • 1
  • Arijit Nandi
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute for Health and Social Policy & Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational HealthMcCill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational HealthMcCill UniversityMontrealCanada

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