The International Diabetes Federation is proud to release the 5th edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas, once again showing that diabetes is a global epidemic. The Atlas is the authoritative source of evidence on the burden of diabetes for health professionals, scientists, economists, policy-makers, and national and international agencies.
The evidence presented in previous editions of the IDF Diabetes Atlas has been used widely by news media, governments, and international organisations such as the World Bank, the World Health Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the World Economic Forum. Estimates from the 4th edition were instrumental in providing the evidence to drive the unanimous adoption of the resolution for the September 2011 UN High-level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases. This summit will ensure that non-communicable diseases such as diabetes will no longer simply be a footnote on the global health agenda.
In this edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas, the estimated number of adults living with diabetes has soared to 366 million, representing 8.3% of the global adult population. This number is projected to increase to 552 million people by 2030, or 9.9% of adults, which equates to approximately three more people with diabetes every 10 seconds. These estimates are considerably higher than those reported in the 4th edition, largely due to new data available from China, the Middle East, and Africa.
The estimates confirm that diabetes continues to disproportionately affect the socially disadvantaged, and is increasing especially rapidly in low- and middle-income countries. The main drivers of the epidemic are economic development and urbanisation, which bring changes in lifestyle, and increasing life expectancy. The health systems in many of these countries are not currently equipped to meet the rising demand of diabetes and non-communicable diseases.
Despite these seemingly overwhelming statistics, we have solutions to meet the challenges of diabetes. IDF brought together a panel of experts to develop a global plan for diabetes using evidence-based strategies. Countries will be able to use this plan to develop their health systems and policies to curb the epidemic and improve the lives of those affected by diabetes. Countries have demonstrated their political will to raise the priority of non-communicable diseases through the UN High-level Meeting. We now expect governments, international agencies, and industry to move from rhetoric to action by following through on this commitment and work together to provide the resources to make this plan a reality.
Information is a powerful tool. On behalf of IDF, I would like to express my profound gratitude to the people who contributed their time and their expertise to this edition, and to the sponsors for their generous support.
We need to work together to ensure the commitments made at the UN High-level Meeting in 2011 are turned into actions, not just for the millions who have diabetes today, but for the millions yet to come. People with diabetes and their families deserve a better future.
Jean Claude Mbanya
President, International Diabetes Federation