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Journal of Diabetes Research
Volume 2018, Article ID 1471808, 12 pages
Research Article

Socioeconomic Factors and Inequality in the Prevalence and Treatment of Diabetes among Middle-Aged and Elderly Adults in China

1School of Health Policy & Management, Nanjing Medical University, 211166 Nanjing, China
2Creative Health Policy Research Group, Nanjing Medical University, 211166 Nanjing, China
3School of Health Economics and Management, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, 210023 Nanjing, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Mingsheng Chen; nc.ude.umjn@smc

Received 26 April 2018; Revised 28 October 2018; Accepted 14 November 2018; Published 27 December 2018

Academic Editor: Michaelangela Barbieri

Copyright © 2018 Zhonghua Wang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. In China, the prevalence of diabetes has increased significantly over recent decades, owing to the county’s rapidly aging population. Although many studies have examined the prevalence of diabetes worldwide, there has been little analysis of the inequalities in its prevalence and treatment among middle-aged and elderly people. Objectives. This study evaluates influence factors and inequality in respect to the prevalence of diabetes and medication treatment among middle-aged and elderly Chinese adults. Methods. Data were obtained from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study, a nationally representative household survey of middle-aged and elderly people (i.e., 45 years of age or older). Logistic regression models and the concentration index were used to estimate socioeconomic factors and inequalities in diabetes prevalence and treatment. Results. The prevalence of self-reported diabetes among middle-aged and elderly Chinese adults was 8.4%; this figure was significantly higher in urban areas than in rural areas. Concentrations of prevalence were observed among the poor in urban areas and among the rich in rural areas. Overall, the incidence of receiving antidiabetic medication among diabetes patients was 64.3%; this was significantly higher for individuals in urban areas than those in rural areas, suggesting that awareness of diabetes treatment in urban areas is better than that in rural areas. A disproportionate concentration of incidence of receiving antidiabetic medication was observed among the rich in both urban and rural areas. Socioeconomic factors significantly affected the prevalence of diabetes and the likelihood of receiving medication and are major contributors to inequality. Conclusion. In China, policies and strategies regarding diabetes prevention and control should further focus on associated socioeconomic factors and major contributors to reduce diabetes prevalence, improve diabetes treatment and management, and alleviate current inequality in the prevalence and treatment of diabetes among middle-aged and elderly adults.