Western Pacific

Western Pacific at a Glance
Total population (millions)
Adult population (20-79 years, millions)
Diabetes and IGT (20-79 age group)
Regional prevalence (%)
Comparative prevalence (%)
Number of people with diabetes (millions)
Regional prevalence (%)
Comparative prevalence
Number of people with IGT (millions)
Type 1 diabetes (0 - 14 age group)
Number  of children with type 1 diabetes (thousands)
Number of newly-diagnosed cases per year  (thousands)
Diabetes mortality (20 - 79 age group)
Number of deaths, male (thousands)
Number of deaths, female (thousands)
Health expenditure for diabetes (USD)
Total health expenditure, R=2, (billions) 38.2 44.8

The world’s most populous region, the Western Pacific, contains 39 disparate countries and territories with predicted populations for 2010 ranging from 1.4 billion for China to less than 5,000 in the smallest Pacific island nations of Niue and Tokelau. Similarly the economic profile varies from per capita GDPs of over USD35,000 for Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore to less than USD3,000 in one-third of the other countries 1 .

Countries with limited resources struggle with the double burden of managing infectious diseases and the diabetes epidemic. Many also face a lack of government awareness of the seriousness of the diabetes threat to their populations.

Diabetes and IGT prevalence

Some 76.7 million people, or 5% of the adult population, are projected to have diabetes in 2010. In the next 20 years, the number of people with diabetes is expected to increase by almost 50% to 112.8 million. There is a great range in the prevalence of diabetes in the region from the world’s highest found in the Micronesian population of Nauru with 31% of the adult population affected by diabetes to Mongolia with 1.6%.

The diabetes epidemic has the greatest potential to explode in China, simply because of its population size. Although the current prevalence there of 4.2% is among the region’s lowest, the high prevalence among Chinese populations in the more urbanized and affluent cities of Hong Kong and Singapore indicate what may develop as China rapidly urbanizes and expands economically (see Appendix 1). The data indicated for 2030 are likely to represent an underestimate of China’s diabetes problem if it continues to develop economically faster than almost any other country in the world.

Only some 6% of children with type 1 diabetes worldwide come from the WP Region, despite it having the largest childhood population. About 31,000 children are expected to have type 1 diabetes in 2010. With the exception of Australia and New Zealand, the incidence rates for type 1 diabetes in children in this region appear uniformly low. Despite its very low incidence, China accounts for almost 30% of the region’s total.


Current estimates suggest that more than one million adults in the WP Region will die of diabetes-related causes in 2010, which will account for almost 10% of all deaths in the 20-79 age group. More men than women in the younger age groups are expected to die from causes attributable to diabetes. However, as in the other regions, diabetes will account for a higher percentage of deaths in middle-aged women than it will for middle-aged men (see Figure 3.7).

Healthcare expenditure

Expenditure on healthcare for diabetes in this populous region accounts for about 10% of the global total. At least USD38 billion is expected to be spent on healthcare for diabetes. The amount spent on healthcare per person is thought to vary greatly between countries, ranging from more than USD3,000 in Australia and Japan to less than USD10 in the Democratic Republic of Korea and Myanmar (see Data Tables).

National Diabetes Programmes

More than half the countries which responded to the IDF member association survey reported that they had a national diabetes programme, most of which had been implemented. Screening and early diagnosis, and routine clinical care were among those topics most frequently addressed by NDPs. Critical aspects of the diabetes burden such as essential medications and supplies, and total cases of treatment were also monitored by NDPs.

Map 3.7 Prevalence (%) estimates of diabetes (20-79 years), 2010, Western Pacific Region

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1: Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook. 2008. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/