Economic Crisis, Diabetes Burden & Cardiovascular Mortality

Cuba (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Research Paper Title

Population-wide Weight Loss and Regain in Relation to Diabetes Burden and Cardiovascular Mortality in Cuba 1980-2010: Repeated Cross Sectional Surveys and Ecological Comparison of Secular Trends.

Study Question

Did the pattern of population-wide weight loss and regain in Cuba during and after the economic crisis  of the 1990s result in changes in the burden of diabetes and cardiovascular disease?

Summary Answer

The 1990s economic crisis in Cuba resulted in an average weight loss of 5.5 kg in the population, accompanied by rapid and substantial declines in the rates of diabetes and heart disease. As the economy recovered obesity and diabetes rates rebounded promptly and diabetes mortality increased, while the decline in cardiovascular disease slowed.

What is Known and What this Paper Adds

Abrupt reductions in diabetes and cardiovascular death have been observed during food shortages in economically developed societies – primarily during the second world war – although no population-wide information was available on trends in weight, physical activity or diabetes incidence or prevalence. Population-wide weight loss and regain in Cuba was found to be associated with improvements and declines in health burden, respectively.

Source: BMJ 2013;346:f1515.


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