Health Status of Canadians 2016: Report of the Chief Public Health Officer - How are we unhealthy? - Diabetes

How are we unhealthy?

Diabetes

In 2011, almost almost 2.7 million or 1 in 10 Canadians 20 years and older were living with diagnosed diabetes (type 1, type 2) as measured through hospitalizations or physician claims (see Figure 1)Footnote 1.

Figure 1: 1 in 10 Canadians had been diagnosed with diabetes.Footnote 1

Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in Canada and is linked to a variety of complications (e.g., amputations, loss of vision) and other diseases (e.g., cardiovascular disease, kidney disease).Footnote 2 Age, obesity and physical inactivity are some of the many risk factors for type 2 diabetes.Footnote 2

Did you know?

Although historically only found in adults, type 2 diabetes has been on the rise globally among children and youth over the past 20 years.Footnote 9,Footnote 10

Over time

Data adjusted by age and collected from hospitalizations and physicians claims show that:Footnote 1

  • 6% of Canadians 20 years and older had been diagnosed with diabetes by 2000.
  • 10% of Canadians 20 years and older had been diagnosed with diabetes by 2011.

Self-reported data are lower than data collected through hospitalizations and physician claims, but show the same general trend. The proportion of Canadians 12 years and older who reported being diagnosed with diabetes (type 1, type 2 or gestational) at some point in their life has been increasing (see Figure 2)Footnote 1.

Data from hospitalizations and physician claims may be more accurate; however, are not available to make comparisons by sex, income, age and in Indigenous populations. For these analyses (see below), self-reported data are used.

By sex

In 2014, the proportion of Canadians 12 years and older who reported living with diabetes was 6% for men and 5% for women based on age-adjusted data (see Figure 2)Footnote 3.

Figure 2: Percent of Canadians who reported being diagnosed with diabetes, by sex, 2003-2014Footnote 3
Figure 2

Data presented in this graph are adjusted by age.

Text Equivalent

Line graph showing the percentage of Canadians living with diabetes by sex from 2003 to 2014. Data presented in this graph are adjusted by age.

Men

  • 2003: 4.4%
  • 2005: 4.7%
  • 2007: 5.6%
  • 2008: 5.3%
  • 2009: 5.6%
  • 2010: 6.2%
  • 2011: 5.5%
  • 2012: 5.6%
  • 2013: 5.7%
  • 2014: 5.9%

Women

  • 2003: 3.9%
  • 2005: 4%
  • 2007: 4.6%
  • 2008: 4.7%
  • 2009: 4.5%
  • 2010: 4.6%
  • 2011: 4.7%
  • 2012: 4.9%
  • 2013: 4.9%
  • 2014: 4.6%

By income

From 2003 to 2013, Canadians 18 years and older in the lowest income group were more likely to report being diagnosed with diabetes (type 1, type 2 or gestational) than those in the highest income group (see Figure 3)Footnote 4.

Figure 3: Percent of Canadians who report living with diabetes by income, 2003 and 2013Footnote 4
Figure 3

Quintiles (Q) are calculated by dividing the Canadian population into five groups of equal size (quintiles) based on income.

Text Equivalent

Bar chart showing the percent of Canadians living with diabetes by income in 2003 and 2013. These data are divided into income quintiles. Quintiles are calculated by dividing the Canadian population into five groups of equal size (quintiles) based on neighbourhood income.

2003

  • Quintile 1 (lowest): 7.6%
  • Quintile 5 (highest): 4.2%

2013

  • Quintile 1 (lowest): 10%
  • Quintile 5 (highest): 4.9%

By age

The proportion of Canadians 12 years and older reporting being diagnosed with diabetes (type 1, type 2 or gestational) increases with age.Footnote 11

Percent of Canadians who report living with diabetes by age group, 2013-2014Footnote 11
12 to 19 years 20 to 34 years 35 to 44 years 45 to 64 years 65 years and older
<1%Table 1 footnote a 1% 3% 9% 18%

Indigenous populations

Data on diabetes in Indigenous populations are not directly comparable to the data described above. In 2008/2010, 16% of First Nations on-reserve reported they had been diagnosed with diabetes (type 1, type 2 or gestational). Of those reporting being diagnosed with this disease, 81% said they had type 2 diabetes, 9% had type 1 and 6% had gestational diabetes.Footnote 5

Percent of First Nations adults on-reserve who report living with diabetes, 2008/2010Footnote 5
First Nations on-reserve 16%

In 2007-2010, First Nations off reserve were more likely to report living with diabetes (type 1, type 2 or gestational) than other groups.Footnote 6

Percent of Canadians who report living with diabetes, 2007-2010Footnote 6

Data presented in this table are adjusted by age. Indigenous populations tend to be younger than non-Indigenous populations which can affect the ability to compare data across groups.

First Nations off-reserve 6%
Métis 4%
Inuit 2%Table 3 footnote a
Non-Indigenous 4%

International comparison

International data on diabetes are estimates of diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes. Among G7 countries, it is estimated that Canada had one of the highest proportions of people aged 20 to 79 years living with diabetes in 2015 at almost 8%. The United Kingdom was estimated to have the lowest proportion of people living with diabetes at less than 5%. The United States was estimated to have the highest at 11% (see Figure 4)Footnote 7. It should be noted that countries can have different approaches to screening for and diagnosis of diabetes that may affect estimates on how many people are living with diabetes.

Figure 4: Estimated percent of people living with diabetes in G7 countries, 2015Footnote 7
Figure 4

Data presented in this graph are adjusted by age.

Text Equivalent

Bar chart showing the percent of people living with diabetes in G7 countries in 2015. Data presented in this graph are adjusted by age.

  • Canada: 7.4%
  • United States: 10.8%
  • United Kingdom: 4.7%
  • France: 5.3%
  • Germany: 7.4%
  • Italy: 5.1%
  • Japan: 5.7%

Notes to the reader

  • Diabetes mellitus occurs in several forms with type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes being the most common types.Footnote 2
  • Indigenous populations consist of First Nations, Métis and Inuit.
  • Comparing of international rates of diabetes are challenging. The International Diabetes Federation generated age-adjusted estimates for each country by applying the country's age-specific diabetes prevalence estimates to each age-group and standardising the country's population age structure to the global age structure of 2001.Footnote 8
  • G7 countries include seven of the world's industrialized countries, namely the United States, Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Canada, that form an informal discussion group and economic partnership.

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