IDF: The Diabetes Epidemic Is Out of Control


The International Diabetes Federation’s 20th World Diabetes Congress, currently meeting in Montreal, released new data that shows 285 million people worldwide have diabetes, with residents of low-and middle-income countries bearing the brunt of the epidemic.  Diabetes claims the lives of four million people a year, and is a leading cause of blindness, renal failure, heart attack, and amputation.

IDF Regions and Increase Map

According to the IDF, “Diabetes now affects seven percent of the world’s adult population. The regions with the highest comparative prevalence rates are North America, where 10.2 % of the adult population have diabetes, followed by the Middle East and North Africa Region with 9.3%. The regions with the highest number of people living with diabetes are Western Pacific, where some 77 million people have diabetes and South East Asia with 59 million. India is the country with the most people with diabetes, with a current figure of 50.8 million, followed by China with 43.2 million. Behind them the United States (26.8 million); the Russian Federation (9.6 million); Brazil (7.6 million); Germany (7.5 million); Pakistan (7.1 million); Japan (7.1 million); Indonesia (7 million) and Mexico (6.8 million).”  See here for more statistics.

The economic burden of diabetes is tremendous, and the IDF predicts that in 2010 it will cost the world economy $376 billion dollars.   With annual spending of $198 billion, the United States accounts for 52.7% of total diabetes spending worldwide.  India, which has the largest diabetes population, spends $2.8 billion or 1% of the total global expenditure.

Professor Nigel Unwin, who leads the team of experts behind the IDF Diabetes Atlas, said that without effective prevention, diabetes will overwhelm health systems and hinder economic growth.  And IDF President Mbanya said, “The epidemic represents nothing short of a global health emergency.”

IDF Diabetes Atlas, 4th edition, © International Diabetes Federation, 2009.
IDF Diabetes Atlas, 4th edition, © International Diabetes Federation, 2009.
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