Background The global diabetes epidemic has a destructive impact on human lives and national economies. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes (DM2) is increasing all over the world with a tremendous rate in both developed and developing countries. It is a serious global health problem often leading to morbidity and mortality. Objective The aim of this study is to estimate the prevalence of DM2 in Norway and investigate the difference between ethnic Norwegians and immigrants from the Indian subcontinent (Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka). We also want to identify if Sweden and Denmark have the same differences. Lastly we look at the prevalence of DM2 in the Indian subcontinent.
Methods We have performed a systematic literature review, with searches in Pubmed, Cochrane Library, Embase, Cinahl and Biosis for relevant articles. We also searched the references of the primary articles.
ResultsThe epidemiological studies in Norway reported ethnic differences in prevalence of DM2. South Asian men (14.3%) and women (27.5%) had a higher prevalence compared to Norwegian men (5.9%) and women (2.9%). Our neighbouring countries show a similar development. The prevalence of DM 2 in the Indian subcontinent is also high. In India prevalence estimates vary between 2.9% and 19.5%. Pakistan (5.8%-16.2%), Bangladesh (4.1%-8.5%) and Sri Lanka (5.2-10.3%).
Conclusion The prevalence is higher among immigrants from the Indian subcontinent compared to ethnic Norwegians. Population-based studies also show a high prevalence in their native countries. We believe that more systematic and epidemiological research with standardized methods is needed to assess the prevalence of DM2 on a national level.