Health: men faring worse than women in hospitalisations for diabetes


14/11/2012 - New OECD data show that men are more likely to be admitted to hospital as a result of poor management of diabetes than women, even when there are no significant differences in the number of men and women living with diabetes.


Across the 25 countries shown in the graph below, 8.7% of men and 8.3% of women are currently living with diabetes. The average number of hospital admissions with diabetes was 188 per 100 000 among men in 2009, whereas women had a hospital admission rate of 143 per 100 000 – more than 20% lower.


Uncontrolled diabetes hospital admission rates and diabetes prevalence by sex, 2009 (or nearest year)



Source: : International Diabetes Federation for prevelance estimates; OECD Health Data 2012 for hospital admission rates.  N = 25 (23 OECD countries plus Latvia and Malta)

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The greater numbers of men being admitted to hospital for poor management of diabetes ought to raise concerns that men are not managing their diabetes as well or making the most of primary health care services when compared to women.


Across both sexes, countries such as Switzerland, Canada and Portugal have high prevalence of diabetes across their population but low rates of hospital admissions from poor management of diabetes. At the same time, Korea, Mexico and Austria have similarly high prevalence of diabetes but much higher rates of hospital admissions.


Progress in improving diabetes care across OECD countries has been mixed in the last two years for which data are available. Canada, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Germany and Austria have reduced the number of hospital diabetes-related hospital admissions. However, Iceland, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Italy, Finland and Korea have all seen increases in hospital admissions for diabetes. Admission rates in Norway and the United States have remained about the same.


Diabetes is a health condition where good health policies and good health care can make a big difference. Modest weight loss and dietary changes can delay and prevent the onset of diabetes and better management of blood glucose can reduce further health care complications.


However, too many patients across OECD countries today do not receive treatment until more serious complications have set in. As countries reflect on how to improve health care for people living with diabetes, the OECD encourages them to think about their men.


The data released today are drawn from the OECD and European Commission’s forthcoming publication Health policies and data, which will be released on 16 November 2012.  For further data and information on the OECD’s work on health, visit:


If you would like to speak to an OECD health expert, contact Mark Pearson, Head of the OECD Health Division, at + 33 1 45 24 92 69 or


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