A recent global study conducted by researchers from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington has indicated that without intervention, the prevalence of diabetes will increase in every country worldwide over the next three decades.According to the study, there are currently 529 million individuals globally who have diabetes, with projections indicating that this number will more than double to around 1.3 billion people by 2050. The researchers noted that the majority of cases are attributed to type 2 diabetes, a form of the disease that is closely associated with obesity and largely preventable.
However, the rise in diabetes prevalence is not uniform across all countries and regions. Certain areas are expected to be significantly affected. By 2050, prevalence rates are projected to reach 16.8% in North Africa and the Middle East, and 11.3% in Latin America and the Caribbean, compared to the estimated global average of 9.8%. Currently, the prevalence stands at 6.1%. Nevertheless, researchers emphasized that every country will experience the impact of diabetes.
Lead author of the paper, Liane Ong, expressed concern about the alarming rate at which diabetes is growing, noting its association with various heart conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
The increasing number of individuals with diabetes can be attributed, in part, to the rise in obesity rates and demographic shifts. The study revealed that prevalence is higher among older adults. Notably, the data from 204 countries did not account for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as those numbers were not yet available during the study.
The study, which received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is part of a broader series on diabetes published in The Lancet medical journal. The series calls for more effective strategies to mitigate the impact of diabetes and highlights the need to address inequality, as a significant majority of diabetes patients reside in low- and middle-income countries, facing challenges in accessing proper treatment.