Income Levels and Diabetes

Data has revealed a strong correlation between income levels and the incidence of diabetes in South Korea.

A collaborative research group involving two universities and two hospitals in the country classified 7.82 million adults aged between 30 and 64, who did not have type 2 diabetes, according to their income levels in 2012. The group then tracked and observed them until 2019.

The study found that the suggested likelihood of developing diabetes was 22 percent higher among those in the low-income group, compared to those who were never part of that group.

The risk of diabetes escalated by 57 percent within the extremely low-income category under the same conditions.

The study also examined the link between the frequency of income reduction and the incidence of diabetes.

The researchers found, as in other studies, that financial difficulties could easily lead to stress, which in turn might result in unhealthy habits like smoking or reduced physical activity.

Consistent with findings in similar studies was that individuals with lower incomes tended to consume relatively inexpensive, calorie-dense, and high-fat foods, often missing opportunities for regular medical checkups and appropriate healthcare due to reduced access to medical services.

Advocacy Action: Do you recognise the findings of the South Korean study, and can they be used to affect change in your country? Do preventative health measures get taken into account when considering welfare support? Is there a role for the education system to play in its curriculum, school meals, or physical activities.