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World Health Day 2016: Diabetes cases rise fourfold to 422 million people

A new report has revealed that since 1980, the number of adults with diabetes worldwide has quadrupled from 108 million to 422 million in 2014.

Washington DC: A new report has revealed that since 1980, the number of adults with diabetes worldwide has quadrupled from 108 million to 422 million in 2014.

The findings provide the most comprehensive estimates of worldwide diabetes trends to date and show that diabetes is fast becoming a major problem in low and middle income countries.

"Diabetes has become a defining issue for global public health. An ageing population and rising levels of obesity mean that the number of people with diabetes has increased dramatically over the past 35 years" says senior author Majid Ezzati, from Imperial College London, London, UK.

Ezzati added "Rates of diabetes are rising quickly in China, India, and many other low and middle income countries, and if current trends continue, the probability of meeting the 2025 UN global target is virtually non-existent."

The study, released ahead of World Health Day (7th April), includes data from 751 studies totalling 4.4 million adults in different world regions. The study estimates age-adjusted diabetes prevalence for 200 countries - meaning that researchers adjusted the results to account for diabetes becoming more common as a person ages and for some countries having older populations.

Between 1980 and 2014, diabetes has become more common among men than women. Global age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes doubled among men and increased by two-thirds among women.

Although there was an increase in overall rates (crude prevalence) of diabetes in many countries in Western Europe, age-adjusted rates were relatively stable suggesting that most of the rise in diabetes in Western Europe between 1980 and 2014 was due to the ageing population.

National and regional findings include:

-In the UK, after adjusting for an ageing population, 4.9 percent of women have diabetes in 2014 (compared to 4.0 percent in 1980). Prevalence has increased more among men, from 4.8 percent in 1980 to 6.6 percent in 2014.

-Northwestern Europe has the lowest rates of diabetes among women and men, with age-adjusted prevalence lower than 4 percent among women and at 5-6 percent among men in Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands.

-Prevalence of diabetes was highest in Polynesia and Micronesia (age-adjusted prevalence is over 20 percent in men and women). In American Samoa, nearly one third of the adult population has diabetes.

-The greatest increases in diabetes prevalence were in Pacific island nations, followed by the Middle East and North Africa, in countries like Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

-Half of adults worldwide with diabetes in 2014 lived in five countries: China, India, USA, Brazil and Indonesia.

-Age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes has more than doubled for men in India and China (3.7 percent to 9.1 percent in India; 3.5 percent to 9.9 percent in China); and increased by 50 percent among women in China (5.0 percent to 7.6 percent) and 80 percent among women in India (4.6 percent to 8.3 percent).

-In the US, age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes in women increased by 50 percent (4.3 percent to 6.4 percent), and 80 percent in men (4.7 percent to 8.2 percent).

-Pakistan, Mexico, Egypt and Indonesia are all now in the top 10 countries with the largest number of adults with diabetes. Age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes doubled in Pakistan (4.9 to 12.6 percent for men and 5.9 to 12.1 percent for women), Mexico (6.5 to 10.9 percent for men and 6.5 to11.5 percent for women), and Indonesia (3.2 to 7.4 percent for men and 4.1 to 8.0 percent for women) and nearly tripled in Egypt (6.5 to 16.0 percent for men and 8.0 percent to 19.8 percent for women).

The study appears in The Lancet.

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