The number of adults with diabetes has doubled within the past 30 years.
70% of the increase is attributed to population growth and ageing. However, the number also reflects the unfortunate global shift towards a western lifestyle of unhealthy diet and physical inactivity, with obesity as the outcome.
Between 1980 and 2008, the global body-mass index (BMI) increased by 0·4—0·5 kg/m2 per decade.
In the USA, 10% of infants and toddlers already carry excess weight. More than 20% of children between the ages of 2 years and 5 years are overweight or obese.
By 2030, the number of individuals with diabetes worldwide is expected to rise to half a billion (470 million) - almost 80% of whom will be in low-income and middle-income countries. In these regions, diabetes drugs and insulin are often inaccessible or are too expensive.
The diabetes pandemic. The Lancet, Volume 378, Issue 9786, Page 99, 9 July 2011.
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