About the Virtual Diabetes Register

Each year the New Zealand Ministry of Health releases national estimates of the prevalence of diabetes based on the VDR. The VDR is an important tool to monitor prevalence of diabetes and support national and local clinical quality improvements.

The VDR contains data about people suspected as having diabetes, identified through their use of diabetes related health services. The VDR uses an algorithm to identify these people in data extracted from hospital inpatient and outpatient, laboratory test type, and pharmaceutical dispensing data collections. The VDR is collated annually at the end of March. National and regional diabetes prevalence estimates are calculated based on the number of people on the VDR during the previous calendar year – in this case, during 2021. People suspected to have diabetes, who were alive and enrolled in a PHO at the 31 December of the VDR year, are included in the totals.

For further technical information about the VDR, see the Virtual Diabetes Register: Technical Guide.

Virtual Diabetes Register 2021 revision

The algorithm used to create the 2021 VDR has two output methods.

  • Output 1 (traditional method): the diabetes prevalence estimates are based solely on the number of people alive and enrolled in a PHO, at 31 December of the VDR year. This output method is useful for the purposes of health service planning, for example. This information is available via the Virtual Diabetes Register web tool (see below).
  • Output 2 (more inclusive version): the diabetes prevalence estimates are based on people who were alive and enrolled in a PHO at any point during the calendar year. This version can be used to:
    • better capture the population of people living with diabetes over the year of interest. This would be a useful output method when considering the cost and/or burden of disease over a year, for example.
    • include people that have died during the year. This allows more representative reporting of some outcomes, such as amputation rates for people with diabetes, and potentially other diabetes-related complications. 

The updated VDR algorithm allows for either method of diabetes prevalence calculation to be used.  The Virtual Diabetes Register web tool contains data using output 1 of the VDR. If the user prefers to include people who were alive, those that have died, and PHO enrolled at any point during the year (output 2), this data is available to download below.

About the Virtual Diabetes Register web tool

Each year, the New Zealand Ministry of Health releases national estimates of the prevalence of diabetes based on the Virtual Diabetes Register (VDR).

The VDR monitors the prevalence of diabetes and supports national and local clinical quality improvements. This web tool presents both estimated numbers of people registered as having diabetes, as well as the estimated prevalence of diabetes per 1000 people, across different demographic groups in the population.

The data presented in this tool can be explored by year, ethnicity, sex, district health board of residence, deprivation quintile and age group.

Pātiki and Waharua Kōpito patterns

Virtual Diabetes Register web tool

The data presented in this tool can be explored by year, ethnicity, sex, district health board of residence, deprivation quintile and age group.

Key findings from the 2021 Virtual Diabetes Register

  • In 2021, about 292,400 people in Aotearoa New Zealand were estimated as having diabetes. The estimated rate of diabetes was 41.5 (95% CI: 41.4, 41.7) per 1000 population.
  • Over the last ten years, there was an increase in the estimated rate of diabetes, from 35.7 per 1000 population in 2012 (95% CI: 35.5, 35.8), to 41.5 per 1000 population in 2021 (95% CI: 41.4, 41.7).
  • In 2021:
    • The Pacific population had the highest estimated rate of diabetes at 118.8 per 1000 Pacific population (95% CI: 117.7, 120.0), followed by the Indian population at 101.3 per 1000 Indian population (95% CI: 99.9, 102.6) and the Māori population at 70.1 per 1000 Māori population (95% CI: 69.5, 70.7). The European or other population had the lowest estimated rate of diabetes at 30.1 per 1000 European or other population (95% CI: 30.0, 30.2).
    • Counties Manukau District Health Board had the highest estimated rate of diabetes at 70.4 per 1000 population (95% CI: 69.8, 71.0), while Nelson Marlborough District Health Board had the lowest estimated rate of diabetes at 26.4 per 1000 population (95% CI: 25.7, 27.0).
    • The estimated rate of diabetes increased with increasing deprivation quintile. Those living in the most deprived areas—deprivation quintile 5—had rates of diabetes 2.6 times higher than those living in the least deprived areas:
      - Deprivation quintile 5: 68.7 per 1000 population (95% CI: 68.3, 69.2)
      - Deprivation quintile 1: 26.9 per 1000 population (95% CI: 26.6, 27.1)
    • The estimated diabetes rate of males was 44.8 per 1000 population (95% CI: 44.5, 45.0). This was higher than that of females, with 38.5 per 1000 population (95% CI: 38.3, 38.7).

Output 2 data downloads

Output 2 data is available to download below.

Disclaimer

This web tool presents data to the latest year for which data is available for publication. We have quality checked the collection, extraction, and reporting of the data presented here. However, errors can occur.

Contact us through the Data Services team at Te Whatu Ora if you have any concerns regarding any of the data or analyses presented here. We make no warranty, expressed or implied, nor assumes legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, correctness or use of the information or data in this tool.