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OBJECTIVES: To examine validity of prevalence-based models giving projections of prevalence of diabetes in adults, in England and the UK, and of Markov chain models giving estimates of economic impacts of interventions to prevent type 2 diabetes (T2D). METHODS: Rapid reviews of both types of models. Estimation of the future prevalence of T2D in England by Markov chain models; and from the trend in the prevalence of diabetes, as reported in the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF), estimated by ordinary least squares regression analysis. SETTING: Adult population in England and UK. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Prevalence of T2D in England and UK in 2025. RESULTS: The prevalence-based models reviewed use sample estimates of past prevalence rates by age and sex and projected population changes. Three most recent models, including that of Public Health England (PHE), neither take account of increases in obesity, nor report Confidence Intervals (CIs). The Markov chain models reviewed use transition probabilities between states of risk and death, estimated from various sources. None of their accounts give the full matrix of transition probabilities, and only a minority report tests of validation. Their primary focus is on estimating the ratio of costs to benefits of preventive interventions in those with hyperglycaemia, only one reported estimates of those developing T2D in the absence of a preventive intervention in the general population.Projections of the prevalence of T2D in England in 2025 were (in millions) by PHE, 3.95; from the QOF trend, 4.91 and by two Markov chain models, based on our review, 5.64 and 9.07. CONCLUSIONS: To inform national policies on preventing T2D, governments need validated models, designed to use available data, which estimate the scale of incidence of T2D and survival in the general population, with and without preventive interventions.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open

Publication Date





diabetes mellitus, epidemiology, markov chains, obesity, prevalence, Adult, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, England, Female, Forecasting, Humans, Male, Markov Chains, Models, Statistical, Prevalence