China’s world record diabetes figures are likely even higher than previously reported. Chinese health officials have reportedly done what they do best, and covered up the real statistics, because that’s easier than allocating more resources toward public health. Not to mention that it helps save face, which is clearly what health and safety officials seem to prioritize over, well, health and safety.
A new study published in the Journal of American Medical Association by a team of Chinese experts suggested that 11.6 per cent of Chinese adults have diabetes. The Chinese Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, however, still listed 9.7 per cent as the official diabetes occurrence rate.
The disparity has triggered much discussion since the release of the JAMA study, which used the diagnosis standard adopted by the American Diabetes Association in 2010, which includes glycated hemoglobinA1c (HbA1c) as one of three criteria to identify diabetes patients.
The CDC, on the other hand, is using the 1999 WHO standard that only tests two criteria: fasting plasma glucose and two-hour plasma glucose.
Some expects said they suspected the adoption of a more conservative standard indicates that public health authorities may not want to report a higher figure to the public as it will indicate its failure to prevent the disease from spreading. It could also put pressure on the government to put more resources into public medical care.
Liu said the costs might be the reason behind Beijing’s decision to stick to the 1999 WHO standards. Testing HbA1c is expensive and mainland hospitals may not have the resources to widely adopt it.