Study: Frequent diabetes in poor regions

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Diabetes and obesity more common in poorer neighborhoods

A telephone health survey has shown that people living in poorer residential areas are more often affected by type 2 diabetes and obesity. This also applies to those people who are doing well.

Risk of illness regardless of individual social status People living in a disadvantaged region in Germany have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity. The risk of illness for those living there is also increased regardless of individual social status. This emerges from a current analysis of data from the telephone health survey GEDA ("Health in Germany current") of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). The results of the scientists from the Institute for Health Economics and Management in Health Care (IGM) at Helmholtz Zentrum München (HMGU) and the Department for Epidemiology and Health Monitoring at RKI in Berlin were published a few days ago in the journal "PLOS ONE".

Factors such as income or unemployment can affect all residents As lead author Werner Maier explained, regional factors such as the average income of the population, unemployment or the nature of the living environment could affect all residents, regardless of the educational status of the individual. The group of authors evaluated data from more than 33,000 people aged 30 and over across Germany who had participated in the GEDA telephone health surveys in 2009 and 2010. As the institutions reported, residents in socio-economically disadvantaged regions suffer from diabetes mellitus and obesity (obesity) to an above-average degree.

Individual risk factors were included. The geographical disadvantage known as "regional deprivation" was determined using the "German Index of Multiple Deprivation" (GIMD), which consists of regionally available information on income, employment, education, municipal income, social capital, environment and security a defined area is formed. The individual regions were anonymized and individual risk factors such as age, gender, body mass index, smoking, physical activity, education and life in a partnership were also included in the analysis. The researchers came to the conclusion that in the regions with the highest deprivation category, the frequency of type 2 diabetes was 8.6 percent of those surveyed and 16.9 percent for obesity. In the less deprived regions, this was only 5.8 and 13.7 percent, respectively.

Differences between men and women The results were checked for relevant differences in all individual factors, and people in the areas with the highest deprivation were therefore around 20 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than men and women in the least deprived regions. This risk was increased by almost 30 percent for obesity. Especially in women, high regional deprivation was an independent factor influencing diabetes and obesity. In contrast, a statistically significant and independent association for obesity was found in men, but not for diabetes.

Examinations to date have been unsatisfactory According to the researchers, previous studies on regional factors relating to diabetes and obesity have been unsatisfactory. "Our results indicate the importance of regional factors in connection with common health problems such as diabetes mellitus and obesity in Germany," said Dr. Andreas Mielck from the HMGU, "previous studies on this were often falsified by the individual socio-economic status or only used regionally limited or non-German data." Werner Maier added in the message: "Spatial risk factors such as material and social deprivation are important Starting point for developing region-specific, effective prevention measures. "

Federal ministries support the research network According to the results of the nationwide health monitoring, six million people over the age of 18 in Germany are affected by diabetes mellitus and obesity even affects twice as many adults. The epidemiological analyzes were carried out as part of a cooperation project between the two institutions on diabetes mellitus and social inequality in the diabetes mellitus competence network. Both institutions are funded within this research network by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The GEDA data collection is carried out regularly as part of the nationwide health monitoring at the RKI with funding from the Federal Ministry of Health. (sb)

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