Diabetes Disparities Study

Differences in prevalence of diabetes among immigrants to Canada from South Asian countries



The prevalence of diabetes is high in
South Asians migrants. However, most
previous research has studied South Asians
as a collective whole. The aim of this study
was to examine diabetes prevalence among
immigrants from five South Asian countries
living in Ontario, Canada.  Population-based
health care and immigration databases were
used to compare crude and adjusted diabetes
prevalence on 1 January 2012 between
immigrants to Ontario from different South
Asians countries and the non-immigrant population.


The prevalence of diabetes was also stratified by various sociodemographic factors. There were 431,765 first-generation South Asian immigrants; 68,440 (crude prevalence of 15.9%) of whom had a diagnosis of diabetes. After standardization for age, sex and income, diabetes prevalence was highest among South Asians from Sri Lanka (26.8%) followed by Bangladesh (22.2%), Pakistan (19.6%), India (18.3%) and Nepal (16.5%) in comparison with the non-immigrant population (11.6%).


Increased prevalence was evident among men compared with women in each country of South Asia. Sociodemographic indicators including income, education, English proficiency and refugee status were associated with increased prevalence of diabetes in specific populations from South Asia.  Striking differences in the prevalence of diabetes are evident among immigrants from different countries of
South Asia. Awareness of the heterogeneity will help in recognizing priorities for the delivery of primary care for specific South Asian migrant populations with a range of settlement needs that also encompass social determinants of health.



Data for this research study was provided by the Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences. 



Dr. Ananya Banerjee and Dr. Baiju Shah



Differences in prevalence of diabetes among immigrants to Canada from South Asian countries.

Banerjee AT, Shah BR.

Diabet Med. 2018 Jul;35(7):937-943. doi: 10.1111/dme.13647. Epub 2018 May 3.

PMID: 29663510