Prevalence, incidence and risk factors of diabetes in Australian adults aged ≥45 years: A cohort study using linked routinely-collected data

Hongmei Zhang, Kris Rogers, Louisa Sukkar, Min Jun, Amy Kang, Tamara Young, Anna Campain, Alan Cass, Clara K. Chow, Elizabeth Comino, Celine Foote, Martin Gallagher, John Knight, Bette Liu, Thomas Lung, Martin McNamara, David Peiris, Carol Pollock, David Sullivan, Germaine WongSophia Zoungas, Meg Jardine, Carinna Hockham

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Aims: To use linked routinely-collected health data to estimate diabetes prevalence and incidence in an Australian cohort of adults aged ≥45 years, and examine risk factors associated with incident disease. 

Research design and methods: The EXamining ouTcomEs in chroNic Disease in the 45 and Up Study (EXTEND45) Study is a linked data study that combines baseline questionnaire responses from the population-based 45 and Up Study (2006–2009, n = 267,153) with multiple routinely-collected health databases up to December 2014. Among participants with ≥1 linked result for any laboratory test, diabetes status was determined from multiple data sources according to standard biochemical criteria, use of glucose-lowering medication or self-report, and the prevalence and incidence rate calculated. Independent risk factors of incident diabetes were examined using multivariable Cox regression. 

Results: Among 152,169 45 and Up Study participants with ≥1 linked laboratory result in the EXTEND45 database (mean age 63.0 years; 54.9% female), diabetes prevalence was 10.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] 10.6%–10.9%). Incident disease in those without diabetes at baseline (n = 135,810; mean age 62.5 years; 56.1% female) was 10.0 per 1,000 person-years (95% CI 9.8–10.2). In all age groups, diabetes incidence was lower in women compared to men, an association that persisted in the fully adjusted analyses. Other independent risk factors of diabetes were older age, being born outside of Australia (with the highest rate of 19.2 per 1,000 person-years observed in people born in South and Central Asia), lower education status, lower annual household income, residence in a major city, family history of diabetes, personal history of cardiovascular disease or hypertension, higher body mass index, smoking and long sleeping hours. 

Conclusions: Our study represents an efficient approach to assessing diabetes frequency and its risk factors in the community. The infrastructure provided by the EXTEND45 Study will be useful for diabetes surveillance and examining other important clinical and epidemiological questions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100240
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical and Translational Endocrinology
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


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