Potential Health and Economic Impact Associated With Achieving Risk Factor Control in Chinese Adults With Diabetes

A Microsimulation Modelling Study


The prevalence of diabetes has risen sharply in China. Improving modifiable risk factors such as glycaemia and blood pressure could substantially reduce disease burden and treatment costs to achieve a healthier China by 2030.


We used a nationally representative population-based survey of adults with diabetes in 31 provinces in mainland China to assess the prevalence of risk factor control. We adopted a microsimulation approach to estimate the impact of improved control of blood pressure and glycaemia on mortality, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), and healthcare cost. We applied the validated CHIME diabetes outcomes model over a 10-year time horizon. Baseline scenario of status quo was evaluated against alternative strategies based on World Health Organization and Chinese Diabetes Society guidelines.


Among 24,319 survey participants with diabetes (age 30–70), 69.1% (95% CI: 67.7–70.5) achieved optimal diabetes control (HbA1c <7% [53 mmol/mol]), 27.7% [26.1–29.3] achieved blood pressure control (<130/80 mmHg) and 20.1% (18.6–21.6) achieved both targets. Achieving 70% control rate for people with diabetes could reduce deaths before age 70 by 7.1% (5.7–8.7), reduce medical costs by 14.9% (12.3–18.0), and gain 50.4 QALYs (44.8–56.0) per 1000 people over 10 years compared to the baseline status quo. The largest health gains were for strategies including strict blood pressure control of 130/80 mmHg, particularly in rural areas.


Based on a nationally representative survey, few adults with diabetes in China achieved optimal control of glycaemia and blood pressure. Substantial health gains and economic savings are potentially achievable with better risk factor control especially in rural settings.