To evaluate trends in diabetes-related health behaviours and mortality from diabetes and other chronic diseases in the Spanish population before, during and after the 2008 economic crisis.
Annual population measurements were obtained from national surveys and administrative registries for 2004–2016. Using segmented regression analysis, we calculated the annual percentage change (APC) in 2004–2007, 2008–2010, 2011–2013 and 2014–2016 in risk behaviours (smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity and meals away from home), in healthy behaviours (fruit and vegetable intake and physical activity) and in mortality rates from diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
In general, during the economic crisis (2008–2013), the Spanish population reduced risk behaviours and improved healthy behaviours as compared with the trend observed before and afterwards. Diabetes mortality decreased more during the crisis than before or afterwards. The APC in each time interval was –3.3, –3.7, –4.4 and –2.6 in all-age mortality and –2.9, –5.2, –6.7 and –1.3 in premature mortality (less than 75 years). Only in older people (≥75 years) diabetes mortality showed similar decline before and during the crisis. Mortality from cardiovascular disease also declined more during the crisis, except for all-age mortality and older people in the second part of the crisis, whereas the downward trend in cancer mortality was smaller during the crisis years.
During the 6 years of the economic crisis in Spain, the favourable changes in health behaviours were accompanied by an important reduction in diabetes mortality in the population.