APH 2009, 67, 62-87:

Diabetes type 2 in Belgians of Turkish and Moroccan origin

H. Vandenheede, P. Deboosere

Keywords: Belgium, body mass index, diabetes mellitus, immigrants, Morocco, physical exercise, socio-economic factors, Turkey

To compare the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in adults aged 35 to 74 years of the Turkish and Moroccan communities in Belgium with the prevalence in native Belgians. To examine the determinants and specific mechanisms responsible for differences in diabetes between these communities.

Both objectives were examined using the Health Interview Surveys of 1997, 2001 and 2004. Stepwise logistic regression analyses were performed with diabetes as the outcome variable. The variables ‘age’, ‘sex’, ‘ethnic origin’, ‘body mass index’, ‘lack of physical activity’, ‘educational attainment’ and ‘income’ were introduced in the model in consecutive steps.

In 35- to 74-year-olds, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is higher in Belgians of Turkish and Moroccan origin than in native Belgians. In native Belgian men, the prevalence amounts to 5.0 %. In 35- to 74-year-old men of Turkish and Moroccan origin, the diabetes prevalence is 5.8 % and 6.5 % respectively. 4.3 %, 18.7 % and 11.9 % of the women of Belgian, Turkish and Moroccan origin respectively suffer from diabetes. In men, differences in the prevalence of diabetes are strongly reduced after controlling for lack of physical activity and educational attainment. In women, differences remain high, although they become smaller after accounting for BMI and educational attainment.

In men, thedifferences in diabetes prevalence are explained by lifestyle factors and educational attainment. In women, the community differences in diabetes prevalence persist, although lifestyle factors and educational attainment play an important part in understanding these differences.