Regional Overview


Most people with diabetes live in the economically less developed regions of the world, and even in the region with the lowest prevalence (Africa) it is estimated that around 330,000 deaths will be attributable to diabetes in 2010. In addition, people with diabetes in these regions receive less than 20% of global spending on diabetes, reflecting the huge disparities between regions and countries.

An overview of each of the seven IDF regions is presented here to allow for a better understanding of the diabetes burden and its consequences. Each region is highly diverse not only in socio-economic and geographical terms but also in diabetes prevalence, mortality and healthcare.

Diabetes and IGT prevalence

The WP Region will have the largest number of people with diabetes with 77 million while the African Region the smallest number with 12 million in 2010. However, the region that will have the highest comparative prevalence will be the NAC Region with 10.2% of those aged 20 to 79 years affected by diabetes, followed by the MENA Region with 9.3%. The prevalence of the WP Region is significantly lower at 4.7% (see Table 3.1).

The picture is similar for IGT in which the WP Region is expected to have the greatest number of people with some 120 million in 2010, although the NAC Region will have the highest comparative prevalence with 10.4% of the adult population affected by IGT. Overall, the prevalence of IGT is generally similar to that of diabetes, but somewhat higher for the African and WP Regions, and slightly lower in the NAC Region.


Excess mortality attributable to diabetes range from 6.0% of all deaths in the 20-79 age group in the African Region to 15.7% in the NAC Region. Beyond 49 years of age, diabetes constituted a higher proportion of all deaths in women than in men in all regions, reaching over 25% of all deaths in some regions and age groups (see Morbidity and Mortality). These estimates suggest that diabetes is a considerable cause of death and investing in reducing this burden is justified and necessary.

Healthcare expenditure

The disparities between the regions can clearly be seen in healthcare expenditures for diabetes. The NAC Region is expected to spend about USD214 billion, or 57% of total global healthcare expenditure for diabetes in 2010 while the European Region is projected to spend 53% of the amount spent by the NAC Region. At the same time, the WP Region is estimated to spend slightly more than one-third the European total. The MENA, SACA and SEA Regions are expected to each spend less than 2% of the global total whereas the African Region may account for only 0.4%.

National Diabetes Programmes

A cross sectional survey of IDF member associations was conducted in 2008 to obtain information on the existence and implementation of NDPs worldwide (see National Diabetes Programmes). Slightly more than half of the 89 respondent countries indicated the existence of a national diabetes programme.