Preventing type 2 diabetes

Since 1990, the number of people living with type 2 diabetes has doubled. If the 393 million people living with the disease were a nation, it would be the third most populous on earth with more citizens than the United States of America.

The dramatic rise in type 2 diabetes has been driven by many factors including the simple fact that humans are living longer than ever before. But other drivers can be recognised and addressed, including the impact of increasing urbanisation is having on the lifestyles of people around the world and the resulting rise of obesity, a primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

If current trends continue, one in nine adults could have type 2 diabetes by 2045. But meaningful, lasting change is possible and millions of cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented.

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graphic: Current projection of global type two diabetes prevalence
graphic: Our ambition, halt the rise of type two diabetes
graphic: Our ambition, halt the rise of type two diabetes


What's at stake?

The human cost of diabetes cannot be understated. Each year, the disease leads to the death of four million people. That’s the equivalent of one person every eight seconds, half of whom are under the age of 60. Diabetes is also the world’s sixth leading cause of disability owing to its complications including amputations and blindness.

The economic burden of the disease impacts upon countries, healthcare systems and people with diabetes and their families. Healthcare expenditure on the disease is estimated to eclipse 750 million US dollars each year, largely driven by the same complications that shorten the working lives of many people with diabetes, further impacting upon economies.

Because the number of people living with type 2 diabetes continues to rise, so too does the cost. By 2045, it is estimated that diabetes healthcare expenditure will be more than a trillion US dollars.

This future is both unacceptable and unsustainable. As a leader in diabetes care, we have an obligation to people’s health and a business interest in resilient healthcare systems that can afford our innovation for people living with diabetes.

That’s why our focus goes beyond the medicines we produce.

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Where to start?

The world is rapidly urbanising and two thirds of people living with diabetes reside in cities – a number that rises each day. The way urban areas are designed, built and run is changing the way we live and, in some cases, increasing our vulnerability to diabetes.? That’s why we initiated Cities Changing Diabetes in 2014 in partnership with University College London and Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen.?

We coined the term ‘urban diabetes’ and set out with an ambition to draw attention to type 2 diabetes as a crucial health issue in cities. Working with more than 100 partners across the globe, we’ve undertaken research to better understand diabetes risk and design interventions that deliver meaningful impact on the frontline of the disease.

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Taking action in cities

19 cities
around the world have joined the fight against diabetes

See which cities are bending the curve
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Obesity

100+ partners?
have joined us to create healthier communities

Meet the partners helping to build healthier cities and communities
Social and cultural dynamics

1 toolbox
to help city leaders find solutions to prevent type 2 diabetes

Explore the urban diabetes toolbox


Learn more about our fight against urban diabetes

Go to Cities Changing Diabetes

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From medical to social innovation

Through the Cities Changing Diabetes programme, we have deepened our understanding of what is putting people at risk of type 2 diabetes.?

In cities from Beijing to Houston, programme partners have been uncovering the things that are putting their citizen’s at risk. They have been sharing and using these insights to shape new urban health actions and policies, ranging from new city strategies to innovative peer-to-peer support programmes and large-scale screening drives.

Below is a snapshot of activities that take an innovative approach to the old, and stubborn, problem of how to promote healthier lifestyles.?

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Faith meets prevention in Houston

Realising that many Houstonians were not using the healthcare system, the programme team in Houston, Texas reached out religious and spiritual leaders to see if they could help.

The result has been a new Faith and Diabetes Initiative, which is training faith-based leaders to deliver diabetes education and awareness to their congregation members.

Learn more about Faith and Diabetes

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Tackling food insecurity in Vancouver

With type 2 diabetes prevalence far higher in low-income areas, the programme team in Vancouver, Canada has brought together over 30 leaders from non-profits, the government, healthcare and businesses to initiate a conversation on the affordability and accessibility of nutritious and healthy food.?

Learn how Vancouver is making it easier to access healthy foods

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Designing health into Buenos Aires

When research showed that the inhabitants of Buenos Aires were becoming less and less physically active, local partners took action to rethink how the city’s infrastructure could encourage physical activity and sport.

See how Buenos Aries is getting its citizens moving

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The relationship between obesity and type 2 diabetes

Can we change the way society views people living with obesity? Novo Nordisk CEO, Lars Fruergaard J?rgensen, explains why a focus on medical treatment options is not enough and urges everyone with a stack to consider the implications for type 2 diabetes if we don’t collectively grip the obesity epidemic.?

Learn why it’s time we changed the conversation about obesity

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Are you at risk?

Your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is based on many factors - being middle aged or older, being overweight, or having a family history of diabetes.? Progression is gradual, so you may not even notice the symptoms until they become obvious.

Take the type 2 diabetes risk test

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