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To assess whether in people with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes (HbA1c>7.5%) improvement in HbA1c varies by ethnic and social group.
Prospective 2-year cohort of type 2 diabetes treated in general practice.
All patients with type 2 diabetes in 100 of the 101 general practices in two London boroughs. The sample consisted of an ethnically diverse group with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes aged 37–71 years in 2007 and with HbA1c recording in 2008–2009.
Change from baseline HbA1c in 2007 and achievement of HbA1c control in 2008 and 2009 were estimated for each ethnic, social and treatment group using multilevel modelling.
The sample consisted of 6104 people; 18% were white, 63% south Asian, 16% black African/Caribbean and 3% other ethnic groups. HbA1c was lower after 1 and 2 years in all ethnic groups but south Asian people received significantly less benefit from each diabetes treatment. After adjustment, south Asian people were found to have 0.14% less reduction in HbA1c compared to white people (95% CI 0.04% to 0.24%) and white people were 1.6 (95% CI 1.2 to 2.0) times more likely to achieve HbA1c controlled to 7.5% or less relative to south Asian people. HbA1c reduction and control in black African/Caribbean and white people did not differ significantly. There was no evidence that social deprivation influenced HbA1c reduction or control in this cohort.
In all treatment groups, south Asian people with poorly controlled diabetes are less likely to achieve controlled HbA1c, with less reduction in mean HbA1c than white or black African/Caribbean people.