Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Incidence of insulin dependent diabetes in England: a study in the Oxford region, 1985-6.

British Medical Journal 1989; 298 doi: (Published 04 March 1989) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1989;298:558
  1. P. J. Bingley,
  2. E. A. Gale
  1. Department of Diabetes and Immunogenetics, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London.


    OBJECTIVE--To determine the incidence of insulin dependent diabetes mellitus up to the age of 21 in a geographically defined population in England with independent validation of completeness of case ascertainment. DESIGN--Prospective registration of newly diagnosed cases supplemented by centralised hospital discharge records and death certificates. Validation of ascertainment from general practitioners. SETTING--Oxford Regional Health Authority area (population 2.4 million). PATIENTS--All patients with insulin dependent diabetes diagnosed below age 21 during 1985-6 and resident in the region at the time of diagnosis. INTERVENTIONS--None. END POINT--Validation of a method of case ascertainment for assessing temporal variation in incidence of insulin dependent diabetes. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS--The overall yearly incidence of newly diagnosed insulin dependent diabetes mellitus in people under 21 was 15.6 cases/100,000 (95% confidence interval 13.6 to 17.6). Among males the incidence was 16.8 cases (14.0 to 19.7)/100,000 and among females 14.3 cases (11.6 to 17.1)/100,000. The highest incidence, in the 10-14 year age group, was 26.4 (20.9 to 31.8) new cases/100,000 population yearly. Case ascertainment was greater than 95%. CONCLUSIONS--The incidence of insulin dependent diabetes in England is considerably higher than reported from large scale studies. It is consistent with described patterns of geographical variation. The figures provide a baseline for assessing temporal change.