To analyze the geographical pattern of diabetes mellitus (DM) mortality and its association with socioeconomic factors in 26 Spanish cities.
We conducted an ecological study of DM mortality trends with two cross-sectional cuts (1996–2001; 2002–2007) using census tract (CT) as the unit of analysis. Smoothed standardized mortality rates (sSMR) were calculated using Bayesian models, and a socioeconomic deprivation score was calculated for each CT.
In total, 27,757 deaths by DM were recorded, with higher mortality rates observed in men and in the period 1996–2001. For men, a significant association between CT deprivation score and DM mortality was observed in 6 cities in the first study period and in 7 cities in the second period. The highest relative risk was observed in Pamplona (RR, 5.13; 95% credible interval (95%CI), 1.32–15.16). For women, a significant association between CT deprivation score and DM mortality was observed in 13 cities in the first period and 8 in the second. The strongest association was observed in San Sebastián (RR, 3.44; 95%CI, 1.25–7.36). DM mortality remained stable in the majority of cities, although a marked decrease was observed in some cities, including Madrid (RR, 0.67 and 0.64 for men and women, respectively).
Our findings demonstrate clear inequalities in DM mortality in Spain. These inequalities remained constant over time are were more marked in women. Detection of high-risk areas is crucial for the implementation of specific interventions.