The South and Central America Region includes 20 countries and territories, most of which are in economic transition. The countries and territories of the region all have similar age distribution profiles with about 20% of the population estimated to be older than 50 in 2011. This figure is expected to increase to close to 30% by 2030. The region has a markedly younger age distribution than most of North America. However, as urbanisation continues and populations age, diabetes will become an even greater public health priority for the region.
An estimated 25.1 million people, or 8.7% of the adult population, have diabetes in 2011. Over the next 20 years, the number is expected to rise by close to 60% to almost 40 million people. In addition, current estimates indicate another 15.1 million people, or 5.2% of the adult population, have impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) in 2011. Brazil has the highest number of people with diabetes at 12.4 million, followed by Colombia, Venezuela and Argentina. In addition, Puerto Rico has the highest prevalence of diabetes in adults at 13.3%, followed by Nicaragua (11.2%), Venezuela (10.5%) and Brazil (10.4%).
An estimated 5,500 children developed type 1 diabetes in 2011. In total, 36,100 children in the region under the age of 15 have type 1 diabetes. The majority of children with type 1 diabetes are in Brazil with an estimated 25,200 children.
In 2011, there were 227,000 deaths, or 12.3% of all deaths in the region, attributable to diabetes among adults. More than half (58%) of these deaths occurred in people over the age of 60, and more in women (124,000) compared to men (103,000). Brazil had by far the greatest number of deaths with 121,000 or just under half of all deaths due to diabetes for the region.
Healthcare expenditures due to diabetes are estimated at USD 20.8 billion in the region, accounting for 4.5% of the global total. These expenditures will increase to USD 32.9 billion by 2030. The region spends about 13% of its total healthcare expenditures on diabetes in adults (20-79 years).
A number of new data sources have been published for diabetes in the region, but lack of indexing and availability makes it hard to obtain the data necessary for modelling. As a result, 11 sources from 10 countries were used to estimate diabetes prevalence. Similarly, there are few sources on the numbers of children with type 1 diabetes for the region.