BACKGROUND : Diabetes is often accompanied by dyslipidemia. Lipid control is very important in the management of diabetes. There are limited real world data on the lipid control in diabetic inpatients in southwest China. METHODS : An observational study was conducted to assess the characteristics of lipid profiles and lipid control. Diabetic patients from February 2009 to December 2013 at West China Hospital of Sichuan University were identified. RESULTS : A total of 56,784 inpatients were included and 85.9% of them had at least one lipid panel. The proportions of inpatients with optimal low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) level (< 2.59 mmol/L), optimal triglyceride (TG) level (< 1.70 mmol/L), optimal high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) level (men ≥1.04 mmol/L; women ≥1.30 mmol/L) and optimal non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C) level (< 3.37 mmol/L) were 61.1, 64.6, 49.9 and 64.5%, respectively. Only 23.1% of inpatients obtained optimal levels for all the above four lipid parameters. Of diabetic inpatients with ischemic heart disease, the proportions of inpatients with optimal LDL-C level (< 1.81 mmol/L), optimal TG level (< 1.70 mmol/L), optimal HDL-C level (men ≥1.04 mmol/L; women ≥1.30 mmol/L) and optimal non-HDL-C level (< 2.59 mmol/L) were 38.0, 66.3, 48.1 and 48.7%, respectively. Of diabetic inpatients with cerebrovascular disease, the proportions were 28.3, 64.8, 49.9 and 38.1%, respectively. Older people and men were more likely to obtain optimal lipid levels. However, inpatients between 46 and 64 years were least likely to obtain optimal LDL-C levels. CONCLUSIONS : The lipid control of diabetic inpatients in southwest China is worrisome. Individualized strategies of lipid management should be taken to bridge the gap between the recommendations of clinical guidelines and the real situation of clinical practice.