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A systematic review and meta-analysis of diabetes and risk of physical disability and functional impairment - protocol

Evelyn Wong12*, Kathryn Backholer12, Jessica Harding2, Emma Gearon2, Christopher Stevenson3, Rosanne Freak-Poli12 and Anna Peeters12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, The Alfred Centre, Alfred Hospital, Commercial Road, Melbourne, VIC, 3004, Australia

2 BakerIDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, 99 Commercial Road, Melbourne, VIC, 3004, Australia

3 School of Health and Social Development, Faculty of Health, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, VIC, 3125, Australia

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Systematic Reviews 2012, 1:47  doi:10.1186/2046-4053-1-47

Published: 17 October 2012



Diabetes and increased age are known risk factors for physical disability. With the increasing prevalence of diabetes within our aging population, the future burden of disability is expected to increase. To date, there has not been a pooled estimate of the risk for disability associated with diabetes or its precursor states, impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glucose. We aim to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of the association between prediabetes and diabetes with disability, and quantify the risk of association.


We will search for relevant studies in Medline via Pubmed, Embase, Cochrane library and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), as well as scan reference lists from relevant reviews and publications included in our review. We will review all publications that include studies on human adults (18 years and older) where information is included on diabetes status and at least one measure of disability (Activities of Daily Living (ADL), Instrumental ADL (IADL) or functional/mobility limitation), and where a risk association is available for the relationship between diabetes and/or prediabetes with disability, with reference to those without diabetes.

We will further conduct a meta-analysis to pool estimates of the risk of disability associated with prediabetes and diabetes. Sensitivity analysis will be conducted to assess for publication bias and study quality.Findings from this systematic review and meta-analysis will be widely disseminated through discussions with stake-holders, publication in a peer-reviewed journal and conference presentation.

Diabetes; Impaired glucose tolerance; Physical disability; Functional limitation; Mobility limitation; Systematic review; Meta-analyses; Observational studies; Activities of daily living