• Bangladesh;
  • body mass index;
  • Type 2 diabetes;
  • urban and rural population;
  • waist-to-hip ratio


Aims  To describe differences in prevalence of Type 2 diabetes mellitus with its associated risk factors between rural and urban populations in Bangladesh. Diagnostic criteria [fasting blood glucose (FBG) and oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTT)] were compared and reviewed for both populations.

Methods  A total of 1555 subjects from urban and 4757 from rural communities (age ≥ 20 years) with similar cultural and ethnic backgrounds were randomly selected in a cross-sectional survey. FBG values were determined from all and 2-h post-glucose capillary blood samples were determined after a 75-g oral glucose load for a selected number (urban 476, rural 1046).

Results  A higher prevalence of diabetes was found in urban (8.1%) compared with rural populations (2.3%). Age, sex and waist-to-hip ratio for men were significant risk factors for both urban and rural subjects following fasting and 2-h post-glucose values adjusted for a number of confounding variables. Poor agreement was observed between FBG and OGTT for both urban (kappa 0.41) and rural (kappa 0.40) areas.

Conclusions  A higher prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) in the urban population was observed compared with rural subjects despite similar body mass indexes (BMI). Differences in obesity, waist/hip ratio or hypertension failed to explain the increasing occurrence of T2DM in the urban population.