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Lifetime risk, life expectancy, and years of life lost to type 2 diabetes in 23 high-income jurisdictions: a multinational, population-based study


Diabetes is a major public health issue. Because lifetime risk, life expectancy, and years of life lost are meaningful metrics for clinical decision making, we aimed to estimate these measures for type 2 diabetes in the high-income setting.


For this multinational, population-based study, we sourced data from 24 databases for 23 jurisdictions (either whole countries or regions of a country): Australia; Austria; Canada; Denmark; Finland; France; Germany; Hong Kong; Hungary; Israel; Italy; Japan; Latvia; Lithuania; the Netherlands; Norway; Scotland; Singapore; South Korea; Spain; Taiwan; the UK; and the USA. Our main outcomes were lifetime risk of type 2 diabetes, life expectancy in people with and without type 2 diabetes, and years of life lost to type 2 diabetes. We modelled the incidence and mortality of type 2 diabetes in people with and without type 2 diabetes in sex-stratified, age-adjusted, and calendar year-adjusted Poisson models for each jurisdiction. Using incidence and mortality, we constructed life tables for people of both sexes aged 20–100 years for each jurisdiction and at two timepoints 5 years apart in the period 2005–19 where possible. Life expectancy from a given age was computed as the area under the survival curves and lifetime lost was calculated as the difference between the expected lifetime of people with versus without type 2 diabetes at a given age. Lifetime risk was calculated as the proportion of each cohort who developed type 2 diabetes between the ages of 20 years and 100 years. We estimated 95% CIs using parametric bootstrapping.


Across all study cohorts from the 23 jurisdictions (total person-years 1 577 234 194), there were 5 119 585 incident cases of type 2 diabetes, 4 007 064 deaths in those with type 2 diabetes, and 11 854 043 deaths in those without type 2 diabetes. The lifetime risk of type 2 diabetes ranged from 16·3% (95% CI 15·6–17·0) for Scottish women to 59·6% (58·5–60·8) for Singaporean men. Lifetime risk declined with time in 11 of the 15 jurisdictions for which two timepoints were studied. Among people with type 2 diabetes, the highest life expectancies were found for both sexes in Japan in 2017–18, where life expectancy at age 20 years was 59·2 years (95% CI 59·2–59·3) for men and 64·1 years (64·0–64·2) for women. The lowest life expectancy at age 20 years with type 2 diabetes was observed in 2013–14 in Lithuania (43·7 years [42·7–44·6]) for men and in 2010–11 in Latvia (54·2 years [53·4–54·9]) for women. Life expectancy in people with type 2 diabetes increased with time for both sexes in all jurisdictions, except for Spain and Scotland. The life expectancy gap between those with and without type 2 diabetes declined substantially in Latvia from 2010–11 to 2015–16 and in the USA from 2009–10 to 2014–15. Years of life lost to type 2 diabetes ranged from 2·5 years (Latvia; 2015–16) to 12·9 years (Israel Clalit Health Services; 2015–16) for 20-year-old men and from 3·1 years (Finland; 2011–12) to 11·2 years (Israel Clalit Health Services; 2010–11 and 2015–16) for 20-year-old women. With time, the expected number of years of life lost to type 2 diabetes decreased in some jurisdictions and increased in others. The greatest decrease in years of life lost to type 2 diabetes occurred in the USA between 2009–10 and 2014–15 for 20-year-old men (a decrease of 2·7 years).


Despite declining lifetime risk and improvements in life expectancy for those with type 2 diabetes in many high-income jurisdictions, the burden of type 2 diabetes remains substantial. Public health strategies might benefit from tailored approaches to continue to improve health outcomes for people with diabetes.
D. Tomic, J. Morton, L. Chen, A. Salim, E. W. Gregg, M. E. Pavkov, M. Arffman, R. Balicer, M. Baviera, E. Boersma-van Dam, R. Brinks, B. Carstensen, J. C. N. Chan, Y. J. Cheng, S. Fosse-Edorh, S. Fuentes, H. Gardiner, H. L. Gulseth, R. Gurevicius, K. Hwa Ha, A. Hoyer, G. Jermendy, A. Kautzky-Willer, I. Keskimäki, D. J. Kim, Z. Kiss, P. Klimek, M. Leventer-Roberts, C. Lin, P. Lopez-Doriga Ruiz, A. Luk, S. Ma, M. Mata-Cases, D. Mauricio, S. McGurnaghan, T. Imamura, S. K. Paul, A. Peeters, S. Pildava, A. Porath, C. Robitaille, M. C. Roncaglioni, T. Sugiyama, K. Wang, S. H. Wild, N. Yekutiel, J. E. Shaw, D. J. Magliano, Lifetime risk, life expectancy, and years of life lost to type 2 diabetes in 23 high-income jurisdictions: a multinational, population-based study, The Lancet – Diabetes & Endocrinology (2022)
Peter Klimek, Faculty member at the Complexity Science Hub

Peter Klimek

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