Increased prevalence of diabetes in Argentina is due to easier health care access rather than to an actual increase in prevalence

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INTRODUCTION: According to the Argentine National Risk Factor Survey (ANRFS), between 2005 and 2009, self-reported Diabetes increased in Argentina from 8.4% to 9.6%, accompanied by a raise in the prevalence of obesity and low physical activity. In the same period, it also increased blood sugar checks from 69.3% to 75.7%. Since surveillance data in Argentina rely on self-reports, the estimated prevalence of diabetes may be affected by an increase in the proportion of subjects with access to preventive services. We evaluated the independent effect of a recent blood sugar check, on the increase in self-reported diagnoses of diabetes between 2005 and 2009.<br /><br />MATERIALS AND METHODS: A secondary analysis of data from the 2005 and 2009 ANRFS was performed. Diabetes was defined as having been diagnosed Diabetes or high blood sugar by a health professional, obesity was calculated as BMI ≥ 30 kg/m(2), based on self-reported height and weight and physical activity was measured using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. We used logistic regression models to explore the relationship between prevalence of self-reported diabetes and recent blood sugar check as the main predictor.<br /><br />RESULTS: The prevalence of diabetes rose from 8.4% to 9.6%; obesity from 14.5% to 18% and low physical activity from 46.2% to 55%, between 2005 and 2009. Among those who recently checked their blood sugar no differences were found in the prevalence of diabetes: 13% in 2005 vs. 13.2% in 2009. Findings of the multivariable analysis showed that obesity and low physical activity were significantly associated with self reported diabetes in the adjusted model (OR = 1.80 for obesity, and OR = 1.12 for low physical activity but the strongest predictor was recent blood sugar check (OR = 4.75).<br /><br />DISCUSSION: An increased prevalence of self-reported diabetes between 2005 and 2009 might indicate an improvement in the access to preventive services rather than a positive increase in the prevalence of diabetes.




Rubinstein, A., Gutierrez, L., Beratarrechea, A., & Irazola, V. E. (2014). Increased prevalence of diabetes in Argentina is due to easier health care access rather than to an actual increase in prevalence. PLoS ONE, 9(4).

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