Diabetes in humanitarian entrants born in Afghanistan

In 2021, 912 (5.4%) of Afghan humanitarian entrants self-reported a diabetes diagnosis. When standardised for age, the rate of self-reported mental health conditions among Afghan humanitarian entrants was higher than the rest of the Australian population (8.1% and 4.3% respectively).

The rate of self-reported diabetes increased with increasing age for both male and female Afghan humanitarian entrants (Figure 6.8). Diabetes was more commonly reported by females than males in all age groups except the 20–29 age group, where the number of females who self-reported a diabetes diagnosis was too small to publish. This was consistent with the patterns observed in the overall humanitarian entrant population and the rest of the Australian population.

The following data visualisation (Figure 6.8) presents a bar chart and data table, which can be accessed by using the tabs (top left-hand side).

Figure 6.8: Rate of self-reported diabetes in the Afghan refugee population by age and sex, 2021

There was a higher rate of self-reported diabetes in females than males among Afghan humanitarian entrants across all age groups.

Understanding diabetes rates in this population is particularly important as once diagnosed, a more rapid deterioration in glycaemic control is seen in migrant South Asians with diabetes (Hanif et al 2021). Culturally appropriate diabetes education and care, particularly in relation to religious fasting which can increase the risk of complications is important in this population (Hanif et al 2021). Data about diabetes rates can help inform the development of culturally appropriate services and programs to help manage diabetes in this population group.  


Hanif W, Ali SN, Bellary S, Patel V, Farooqi A, Karamat MA, Saeed M, Sivaprasad S, Patel K and Khunti K (2021), Pharmacological management of South Asians with type 2 diabetes: Consensus recommendations from the South Asian Health Foundation, Diabetic Medicine, 38: e14497, doi:10.1111/dme.14497.

Person-Level Integrated Data Asset (PLIDA), 2021, PLIDA Modular Product, ABS DataLab. Findings based on use of PLIDA data.