Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Differences by sex in the prevalence of diabetes mellitus, impaired fasting glycaemia and impaired glucose tolerance in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Esayas Haregot Hilawe, Hiroshi Yatsuya, Leo Kawaguchi & Atsuko Aoyama

Objective

To assess differences between men and women in the prevalence of diabetes mellitus, impaired fasting glycaemia and impaired glucose tolerance in sub-Saharan Africa.

Methods

In September 2011, the PubMed and Web of Science databases were searched for community-based, cross-sectional studies providing sex-specific prevalences of any of the three study conditions among adults living in parts of sub-Saharan Africa (i.e. in Eastern, Middle and Southern Africa according to the United Nations subregional classification for African countries). A random-effects model was then used to calculate and compare the odds of men and women having each condition.

Findings

In a meta-analysis of the 36 relevant, cross-sectional data sets that were identified, impaired fasting glycaemia was found to be more common in men than in women (OR: 1.56; 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.20–2.03), whereas impaired glucose tolerance was found to be less common in men than in women (OR: 0.84; 95% CI: 0.72–0.98). The prevalence of diabetes mellitus – which was generally similar in both sexes (OR: 1.01; 95% CI: 0.91–1.11) – was higher among the women in Southern Africa than among the men from the same subregion and lower among the women from Eastern and Middle Africa and from low-income countries of sub-Saharan Africa than among the corresponding men.

Conclusion

Compared with women in the same subregions, men in Eastern, Middle and Southern Africa were found to have a similar overall prevalence of diabetes mellitus but were more likely to have impaired fasting glycaemia and less likely to have impaired glucose tolerance.

Share