Thirty-six out of every 100,000 residents in Taipei City died of diabetes mellitus last year.
The ratio is about four times higher than that recorded 22 years ago, when the ratio was nine out of every 100,000, the Taipei Department of Health (TDOH) reported yesterday.
Diabetes ranked ninth among the 10 leading causes of death in Taipei City in 1981, but it has surged to fourth place since 1999, TDOH officials said.
According to TDOH tallies, a total of 946 people died of diabetes in Taipei city in 2003.
Of the total, 84 percent were chronic diabetes patients aged over 65, and 14 percent were people aged between 45 and 64.
Although diabetes affects mainly older people, it is also a "lifestyle disease," which can occur due to long-term rich diets and lack of exercise, the TDOH officials said.
Nationwide, a total of 10,013 people died of diabetes last year, marking a fatality rate of 44.38 out of every 100,000, or about 1.2 times higher than that of Taipei City.
The figure would be 1.5 times if calculated under an age parity structure, in which Taipei City's diabetes fatality rate was 22.5 out of every 100,000, the officials said.
The ratio is the sixth lowest in the 21 cities and counties nationwide, only higher than that in Matsu, Kinmen, Taichung City, Chiayi City and Hsinchu City, in that order.
By comparison, Taipei City's diabetes fatality rate of 22.5 out of every 100,000 is still relatively much higher than in other countries.
In Japan the rate is 3.8, Hong Kong's is 8.3 and Singapore's 10, the TDOH officials said.