University of Leicester eBulletin

New Study Highlights Diabetes Threat to Quality of Life

March 2003
No 101

Research reveals more years with disability for older diabetics

Older people aged 65 with diabetes live on average 6 years less than their counterparts without diabetes and spend fewer years active, concludes a University of Leicester-led study reported in the latest edition of the Journal of Public Health Medicine.

Researchers from the Universities of Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield and the National Demography Institute in Paris used information from routine health checks of the over-75 year olds as part of the larger Melton Mowbray Ageing Project, in association with the Latham House Medical Practice.

They calculated active life expectancy, able to perform basic personal care activities, such as bathing, dressing and mobility around the house, and found that by the age of 85 diabetics spent 32% of their remaining life active compared to 42% for those without diabetes.

Professor Carol Jagger, Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Leicester who led the research team, said: “The continued rise in life expectancy and the increase in obesity will result in greater numbers of older people with diabetes, with a major impact on health service use in the future.

She concluded “We have demonstrated how Primary Care Trusts can monitor the health of their older people through Healthy Active Life Expectancy, a key target for the National Service Framework for Older People”. 

NOTE TO NEWSDESK:  Further information is available from Professor Carol Jagger, Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Leicester, telephone +44 (0)116 252 3211, FAX +44 (0)116 252 3272, email

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