In 1997, diabetes became the third leading cause of death in Mexico. This is a national phenomenon. Regardless of geography or the rural or urban nature of their populations, deaths due to diabetes have increased in 28 of the 32 states in Mexico. Conservative estimates place the current rate of diabetes prevalence at 7.4% among people aged 20-79 years. Estimates from other sources are even higher. Clearly diabetes has become one of the principle public health problems in the country.