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Status and disparities of diabetes among urban and rural residents aged 40 years and older: insight from a population-based study in northeast China, 2017–2019


Objectives To evaluate the up-to-date epidemiology of diabetes in northeast China.

Methods The cross-sectional study was conducted between September 2017 and March 2019 using a multistage, stratified and cluster random sampling method. 18 796 participants (28.9% urban and 71.1% rural) aged ≥40 years were enrolled. Diabetes and pre-diabetes were diagnosed according to the history, fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and glycosylated haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels.

Results The prevalence of diabetes was 17.1%, higher in urban than in rural residents (20.2% vs 15.8%, p<0.001). Meanwhile, the prevalence of pre-diabetes was 44.3%, higher in rural than in urban areas (49.4% vs 31.8%, p<0.001). The overall FPG and HbA1c were 6.10±1.94 mmol/L and 5.59%±1.08%. The FPG level was higher in rural area than in urban areas (6.15±1.83 mmol/L vs 5.97±2.18 mmol/L, p<0.001). Among participants with diabetes, 47.5% were aware of their diabetes condition; 39.5% were taking antidiabetic medications and 36.8% of people had their diabetes controlled. The awareness and treatment rates in rural areas were lower than those in urban areas (47.3% vs 57.5%, 34.4% vs 49.5%, p<0.001). Patients with diabetic, especially those in rural areas, tended to have multiple risk factors including hypertension (71.7%), overweight or obesity (69.6%) and dyslipidaemia (52.8%).

Conclusion A considerable burden of diabetes was observed in northeast China, with high percentage of untreated diabetes, high prevalence of pre-diabetes, high overall FPG level and multiple uncontrolled risk factors in patients with diabetics. Therefore, region-specific strategies on prevention and management of diabetes should be emphasised.

  • diabetes
  • epidemiology of diabetes
  • epidemiology

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. The data sets used and analysed during this study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request. Shuang Liu, MD, Department of Cardiovascular Ultrasound, The First Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, 110001, China. Tel: +86-139-4034-0992, Fax: +86-24-23388556, E-mail:

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