Relation of socio-economic status to impaired fasting glucose and Type 2 diabetes: findings based on a large population-based cross-sectional study in Tianjin, China


Correspondence to: Xiuying Qi. E-mail:



Studies on the relationship between socio-economic status and Type 2 diabetes mellitus in the Chinese population are sparse. We aimed to examine the relation of socio-economic status as represented by income, education and occupation to impaired fasting glucose, Type 2 diabetes, and the control of Type 2 diabetes in a large Chinese population.


This study included 7315 individuals who were aged 20–79 years and living in Tianjin, China. Impaired fasting glucose and Type 2 diabetes were ascertained according to the 1999 World Health Organization criteria. Data were analysed using multinomial and binary logistic regression, with adjustment for potential confounders.


Among all participants, 532 (7.3%) persons had impaired fasting glucose, 688 (9.4%) persons had Type 2 diabetes, including 288 (3.9%) previously undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes. In fully adjusted multinomial logistic regression, compared with higher income (≥ 2000 yuan, $243.3/month), lower income (< 1000 yuan, $121.70/month) showed odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) of 3.31 (2.48–4.41) for impaired fasting glucose, 4.50 (3.07–6.61) for undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes and 4.56 (3.20–6.48) for diagnosed Type 2 diabetes. These results remained significant in the analysis stratified by education and occupation. Furthermore, persons who were retired were more likely to have impaired fasting glucose [odds ratio 1.91 (1.40–2.45)], undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes [odds ratio 2.01) 1.40–2.89] and diagnosed Type 2 diabetes [odds ratio 3.02 (2.12–4.22)]. Among the patients with Type 2 diabetes previously diagnosed, lower education (less than senior high school), non-manual work and unemployment were related to worse glycaemic control (fasting blood glucose level > 8.5 mmol/l).


Lower income and retirement are associated with increased odds of impaired fasting glucose and Type 2 diabetes in Tianjin, China. Education and occupation may play a role in glycaemic control among patients with Type 2 diabetes.