Europe at a Glance
Total population (millions) 891 897
Adult population (20-79 years, millions) 646 659
Diabetes and IGT (20-79 years)
Regional prevalence (%) 8.5 10.0
Comparative prevalence (%) 6.9 8.1
Number of people with diabetes (millions) 55.4 66.5
Regional prevalence (%) 10.2 11.0
Comparative prevalence (%) 8.9 9.5
Number of people with IGT (millions) 66.0 72.2
Type 1 diabetes (0-14 years)    
Number of children with type 1 diabetes (thousands) 112.0  
Number of newly-diagnosed cases per year (thousands) 17.1  
Diabetes mortality (20-79 years)    
Number of deaths, male (thousands) 297.6  
Number of deaths, female (thousands) 336.5  
Health expenditure for diabetes (USD)    
Total health expenditure, R=2, (billions) 105.5 124.6


There exists a great diversity of populations and affluence among the 54 countries and territories in the European Region, with gross domestic product (GDP) varying from over USD85,000 per capita for Luxembourg to less than USD2,000 for several countries in eastern Europe 1 .

Diabetes and IGT prevalence

The number of adults with diabetes in this region is expected to reach 55.2 million, accounting for 8.5% of the adult population in 2010. National prevalence rates for diabetes show a wide variation from 2.1% in Iceland to 12.0% in Germany. Abnormal glucose tolerance in this region shows little association with affluence, and there was no evidence that any difference in urban/rural prevalence existed except in a few countries.

There is a paucity of good data for diabetes in the adult population from many of the more affluent countries of the region. Much of the data is based on surveys establishing the prevalence of ‘known diabetes’. Although there is a lack of data from several of the eastern European countries, available data  2   3   4  suggest high levels of diabetes currently, and such high levels of IGT that the diabetes prevalence will almost certainly increase by 2030 to levels above those projected.

This region, however, had by far the most complete and reliable data for type 1 diabetes in children, compared with other regions, with a large proportion of countries having registries that were either nationwide or cover several different parts of the country. About 112,000 children and adolescents are estimated to have type 1 diabetes in the region. The countries making the largest contribution to the overall numbers in type 1 diabetes in the young are the United Kingdom, Russia and Germany.

To a large degree the high prevalence of abnormal glucose tolerance in the adult population is a consequence of the relatively elderly population, such that in 2010 a third of the population is predicted to be over 50 years of age, and this is expected to increase to over 40% by 2030. This will place an increasing financial burden on the declining working-age population to provide resources to deal with the consequences of rising diabetes prevalence.

Healthcare expenditures

Estimates indicate that at least USD106 billion will be spent on healthcare for diabetes in the European Region in 2010, accounting for 28% of global expenditure. As with the wide variation in diabetes prevalence, the range of spending between countries is expected to be huge, from more than USD7,000 per person in Luxembourg to under USD15 per person in Montenegro (see Data Tables).


More than 630,000 people are expected to die from diabetes-related causes in 2010. This will account for 11% of all deaths in the 20-79 age group. Although more men than women die of diabetes-related causes below the age of 70, the percentage of diabetes-related deaths in women is markedly higher after 40 years of age (see Figure 3.2)


National Diabetes Programmes

More than 60% of countries that responded to the IDF member association survey indicated that there was a national diabetes programme in their country. Routine clinical care and secondary prevention of diabetes complications were among the important topics addressed by NDPs. Significant aspects of the diabetes burden that were monitored included essential medications and supplies, and prevalence and incidence of the disease.

Map 3.2 Prevalence (%) estimates of diabetes (20-79 years), 2010, European Region

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1: Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook. 2008.

2: Szurkowska M, Szybiński Z, Nazim A, et al. [Prevalence of type II diabetes mellitus in population of Krakow]. Pol Arch Med Wewn 2001; 106 (3): 771-779.

3: Lopatynski J, Mardarowicz G, Nicer T, et al. [The prevalence of type II diabetes mellitus in rural urban population over 35 years of age in Lublin region (Eastern Poland)]. Pol Arch Med Wewn 2001; 106 (3): 781-786.

4: Borissova AM, Kovatcheva R, Shinkov A, et al. Prevalence of diabetes in Bulgaria and the significance of the risk factors: age, obesity and family history. 2006.