Diabetes cases worldwide will more than double to 1.3 billion by 2050

Michael Gove says Government need to 'tackle' obesity

The number of global diabetes cases is predicted to double, surging to a staggering 1.3 billion by 2050, new research has revealed.

Currently, more than half a billion people live with diabetes, with the vast majority (96 percent) being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, which is associated with obesity.

This is a significant increase since 1980 when approximately 108 million people lived with the condition, prompting experts to warn of the main risk factors.

High BMI (body mass index) is identified as the main danger, responsible for more than half (52 percent) of death and disability.

Other risk factors include poor diet, environmental and occupational risks, smoking, insufficient physical activity, and alcohol use.

Dr Liane Ong, of the University of Washington, Seattle, the study’s lead author, said: “The rapid rate at which diabetes is growing is not only alarming but also challenging for every health system in the world, especially given how the disease also increases the risk for ischaemic heart disease and stroke.”

Diabetes triples the odds of suffering a heart attack and dramatically escalates the likelihood of leg amputations by twenty times. Additional complications may include stroke, kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, and complications during pregnancy.

Dr Ong added: “While the general public might believe type 2 diabetes is simply associated with obesity, lack of exercise, and a poor diet, preventing and controlling it is quite complex due to a number of factors.

“That includes someone’s genetics, as well as logistical, social, and financial barriers within a country’s structural system, especially in low and middle income countries.”

As global obesity rates rise with one in three individuals now categorised as overweight, the number of diabetes cases has seen a corresponding surge.

The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study shows that diabetes prevalence is more than six percent. The data spanned 204 countries and territories by age and sex from 1990 to 2021, allowing the research team to project rates till 2050.

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