Diabetes Facts & Information: Diabetes Around The World

How many people around the world have diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus, commonly referred to as diabetes, affects some 422 million people worldwide including more than 5% of the Australian population. 

According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), one person will die from diabetes every six seconds.

If current trends continue, and without effective prevention and management, it is projected that one in ten (or 642 million) adults worldwide will have diabetes by 2040.

Which countries have the highest rates of diabetes?

Diabetes is a worldwide health crisis affecting some 422 million people around the world.  According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), one person will die from diabetes every six seconds.

The prevalence of diabetes has been increasing more rapidly in low and middle-income countries with nearly 75% of all adults with diabetes living in low and middle income countries.  The higher prevalence of diabetes in these countries is often attributed to the social determinants of health – the conditions in which people live and work.

It is estimated that close to half of all people with diabetes worldwide are unaware that they have the condition. In fact, more than two thirds of cases of diabetes in Africa alone, go undiagnosed.

How can we lower the incidence rate of diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is considered the most common form of diabetes worldwide with obesity and being overweight among the key factors that account for the condition’s increasing prevalence.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Report on Diabetes, the number of adults living with diabetes has quadrupled since 1980. 

In order to slow the increasing rates of diabetes diagnoses worldwide, the World Health Organisation has urged governments around the world to take action and provide adequate health systems to prevent the onset of diabetes, and to place greater emphasis on diagnosing, treating, and caring for people living with diabetes.

Furthermore, during the 2015 G7 Summit, the IDF launched a call to action for all G7 nations to implement cost-effective policies and programs to help prevent diabetes and to improve the health outcomes for those living with diabetes. 

By continuing to raise awareness, taking preventative action for those at risk of developing diabetes, and through effective management plans for those living with diabetes, we can reduce the devastating impact of diabetes globally.

World Diabetes Day

In 1991 the World Health Organisation and the International Diabetes Federation established World Diabetes Day, the largest diabetes awareness campaign in the world, to draw attention to the escalating health emergency of diabetes globally.

World Diabetes Day is held on November 14 each year, a day that marks the birthday of Frederick Banting who in collaboration with others first conceived the idea which led to the discovery of insulin in 1922. World Diabetes Day draws attention to and seeks to address the key issues facing the global diabetes community.

How you can help

Managing diabetes well can significantly reduce the risk of life-threatening complications and it is important for individuals at risk of developing diabetes to seek assistance from their health care practitioner and start taking action now.

Through effective management of diet and lifestyle, individuals diagnosed with pre-diabetes, and those at risk, can delay or even prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

Whilst Type 1 diabetes does not have a known cure, individuals should seek assistance to manage the condition and to live long and healthy lives.


References: WHO Global report on diabetes, IDF Diabetes Atlas 7th Edition, IDF World Diabetes Day


According to the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS), an Australian Government initiative providing assistance to those affected by the disease, 1.2 mil...
Woman working out Australian Diabetes statistics
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