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Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes surge hits every nation

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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM -- One in 10 of the world's population will have diabetes by 2035, according to the International Diabetes Federation. The latest edition of IDF Diabetes Atlas, published Thursday on World Diabetes Day, estimates that people living with diabetes will surge from 382 million to 592 million people by 2035, many in low- and middle-income countries and the majority under age 60. This surge will form the backdrop of the World Diabetes Congress in Melbourne, Australia, this December.

In some Pacific Island nations, there has been an alarming surge in diabetes prevalence. One in every three adults has the disease on the Pacific Island of Tokelau, providing a microcosm of how diabetes could play out in more populous nations within the coming decades. Sub-Saharan Africa will see a doubling in the number of people with diabetes by 2035, the largest surge of any region in the world.

Previous estimates from the IDF Diabetes Atlas in 2012 put the number of people with diabetes at 371 million and number of deaths for 2012 at 4.8 million. The new figures show that the upward trend will continue. By the end of 2013, 5.1 million people will have died from diabetes-related complications. With 175 million undiagnosed cases, many people are progressing toward complications they are unaware of.

The countries with the highest number of people with diabetes are China with 98 million, India with 65 million and the United States with 24 million. Regionally, the Western Pacific -- which includes countries such as Australia, China and Japan -- has 138 million people with diabetes, the highest number of people with the disease in the world.

“Diabetes is a disease of development. The misconception that diabetes is a disease of the wealthy is still held, to the detriment of desperately needed funding to combat the pandemic,” said Sir Michael Hirst, president of the IDF, during the recent International Diabetes Leadership Forum in Istanbul, Turkey. "On World Diabetes Day, we must continue to increase awareness of the importance of a healthy diet and physical activity. Crucially, environments must be created that lay the foundations for healthy living.”

Other findings from the 6th edition of IDF Diabetes Atlas include:

-- $548 billion was spent on diabetes in 2013;

-- North America spends the most health care dollars on diabetes;

-- In Southeast Asia, almost half of all people with diabetes are undiagnosed;

-- The Western Pacific has the largest number of people with diabetes in the world;

-- In Africa, three quarters of diabetes deaths are in people under 60 years old;

-- In the Middle East and North Africa, one in 10 people have diabetes;

-- In South and Central America, there will be a 60 percent increase in the number of people with diabetes within a generation.

The release of these figures underlines the urgency around IDF's commitment to see diabetes and other non-communicable diseases included in an overarching health target in the post-2015 development framework. This will ensure a whole-of-society approach to prevention, treatment, care and support for diabetes and other non-communicable diseases.

It is hoped that campaigns such as World Diabetes Day will continue to raise the voice of people with diabetes and to encourage all stakeholders to move from advocacy to action on a global scale.

For more information on country and region-specific data, visit the IDF Atlas website at idf.org/diabetesatlas.

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