Developing countries


Poverty versus genes: the social context of Type 2 diabetes

Together with its 'twin sister', childhood obesity, Type 2 diabetes is spreading among young people around the world. This constitutes a serious public health problem; by their 30s, generations of young people will have been living with Type 2

IDF and WHO initiatives to put diabetes on the health agenda in Africa

Although the exact magnitude of the problem in Africa is not well understood, diabetes is a serious threat to public health throughout the continent. In 2003, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) predicted that by 2010, diabetes prevalence in Africa would increase by around 95%. Ignoring diabetes could lead to the breakdown of the fragile health systems in Africa, which are already overwhelmed by communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS.

Prevention of diabetes throughout an obesogenic world

Overweight is an important risk factor for noncommunicable diseases in general and diabetes in particular. There is presently a global epidemic of overweight. A recent large study found a 5.6% growth in obesity in the United States in 2001, and a massive 74% increase since 1991. Twenty one percent of American adults are obese. The prevalence of diabetes, which correlates with obesity has risen 61% in the US since 1990. Diabetes rose 8% over 2000-01 to nearly 8% of the population. The situation is not much better in many developing countries.

The obesity campaign view of diabetes prevention

Obesity is an epidemic accelerating out of control. It is the driving force behind an equally dramatic explosion of Type 2 diabetes, both in adults and now alarmingly among children. Clearly, strategies aimed at improving the prevention and management of obesity must be developed. Not confined to affluent nations, the obesity epidemic imposes a double burden on countries where people are still struggling to overcome generations of chronic undernutrition. Economic progress in developing countries heralds changes in

Identifying the risk factors: diabetes in Asian Indians

As prevalence of diabetes increases globally, developing countries such as India face the massive burden of a diabetes epidemic in the urban population. Migrant Asians from the Indian subcontinent are known to have a higher prevalence of Type 2 diabetes than the host populations and other migrant ethnic groups. Studies conducted in several Asian countries in the last decade highlighted a rising prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in the urban population. The prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) is also on the rise, indicating a possible further increase in diabetes in the future.

The diabetes epidemic in full flight: forecasting the future

Were there warnings that diabetes would become the epidemic of the 21st century? In the early 1970s, Peter Bennett and co-workers reported on the extraordinarily high prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in Pima Native Americans. In 1975, we reported the high rates of diabetes in the Micronesian Nauruans in the Pacific. Similar findings followed in other Pacific and Asian island populations. They all indicated the potential for a future global epidemic.

Diabetes Action Now: WHO and IDF working together to raise awareness worldwide

Even among policy makers at an international and national level, awareness about the public health and clinical importance of diabetes remains low. Diabetes is widely perceived as a condition of low importance to the poorer populations in the world. In the low- and middle-income countries, the impact of diabetes is largely unrecognized. Yet the world is facing a dramatic rise in diabetes prevalence, most of which will occur in the low- and middle-income countries.

Diabetes in Pakistan

Pakistan is a South-Asian country with a population of approximately 150 million. Diabetes prevalence in Pakistan is high: 12% of people above 25 years of age suffer from the condition and 10% have impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). When one considers the associated risk factors present in Pakistani society, the large number of people with diabetes is no surprise. Obesity tops the list.

WDF and diabetes care in Tanzania: making a difference

The World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) is dedicated to supporting prevention and management of diabetes in the developing world. Accordingly it funds sustainable projects in education, capacity building, and distribution and procurement of essential medical supplies. WDF creates partnerships and acts as a catalyst to help others

Diabetic hand infections in the tropics

Diabetes-related foot infections are a scourge all over the world. People suffer such infections when the skin of the foot breaks down secondary to peripheral nerve damage – one of the complications of diabetes. High blood sugar (hyperglycaemia) impairs a person's defences to infection. In poorly controlled diabetes in particular, infection can occur abruptly and spread rapidly. It is not so well-known that similar infections can occur in the hand. Globally, this is much less common than foot infection. However, it is a significant problem, particularly in the tropics.