Diabetes on the increase in Europe

Rising tide of diabetes in Europe reinforces need for prevention and education

New estimates indicate that 55 million of the European adult population will have diabetes by the end of 2012, compared to 53 million last year. The figures, released by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) today to mark World Diabetes Day 2012, also indicate that at least 21.2 million people in Europe are yet to be diagnosed.

Rising numbers throughout Europe highlight the need for better prevention and education. Cost-effective strategies exist and could save hundreds of millions Euros every year. Yet, strong political commitment and concrete actions are still sorely needed.
“Diabetes prevention remains dramatically underfunded and poorly acknowledged. The lingering economic crisis only exacerbates these issues”, said João Nabais, President of the European Region of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF Europe). “In times of economic hardship, European governments should not opt for policies that put the health and wellbeing of their citizens at risk in exchange of short-term financial gains.”

“In times of economic hardship, European governments should not opt for policies that put the health and wellbeing of their citizens at risk in exchange of short-term financial gains.”

The Russian Federation at 12.7 million has the highest number of diabetes cases in Europe followed by Germany and Italy. Europe also accounts for one third of the total global spending on diabetes care.

The release of these figures reinforces IDF Europe’s commitment to push for immediate and proper implementation of the WHO Action Plan for implementation of the European Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases. IDF Europe also calls on the European Commission to deliver a strong strategy on prevention and management of diabetes and chronic diseases following the EU Reflection Process on Chronic Diseases.

The European figures echo the shocking increase in diabetes on a global level. The number of people globally living with diabetes in 2012 has risen to 371 million, compared to 366 million in 2011. “In every country and in every community worldwide, we are losing the battle against this cruel and deadly disease” said Jean Claude Mbanya, President of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).

“On World Diabetes Day, we want to raise awareness that this disease can be controlled and in some cases prevented. Improved access to essential education and healthier lifestyle choices are crucial as we start on the long road to defeating this epidemic”.
“Millions of people are dying from diabetes in their most productive years” added Ann Keeling, CEO of IDF.

“The stability of societies is threatened and huge economic and political burdens are imposed on countries and communities. However this disease remains marginalised on the global health and development agenda and vastly under-resourced”

It is hoped that campaigns such as today’s 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 European and global scale.

Click here to see the diabetes prevalence factsheet in Europe.

For more information on the IDF Diabetes Atlas and the 2012 update, click here.