Social disadvantage, family composition, and diabetes mellitus: prevalence and outcome

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To investigate the relation between social disadvantage and family composition on diabetes prevalence and diabetes care outcome.


Retrospective audit in the south west of England of 801 children with diabetes mellitus.

Main outcome measures

Prevalence of diabetes in relation to the Townsend index. Admissions to hospital with diabetes related problems, glycated haemoglobin, time spent in hospital, outpatient attendance rates.


There was no association between social status and diabetes prevalence. Social deprivation increased the likelihood of admission for hypoglycaemia. Children living with a single parent were more likely to be admitted to hospital with a diabetes related problem and stay in hospital longer. Having either a parent with diabetes or a single parent increased the rates of clinic non-attendance. No association was identified between medium term diabetes control and either social disadvantage or single parent status.


Social disadvantage has no effect on diabetes prevalence and little on diabetes outcome in childhood. Family structure and parental diabetes have adverse effects on some aspects of diabetes outcome.

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