Diabetes and obesity

A global concern
November 8th, 2016

World map The fight against diabetes is not unique to America. Every country dealing with diabetes has struggled to lower its number of diagnoses. In fact, the statistics trend in the opposite direction. Over the past 30 years, as waistlines have grown and obesity rates have continued an upward climb, so, too, has the prevalence of diabetes. The trend has become so pervasive that in spring 2016, the World Health Organization issued its first ever Global Report on Diabetes.

The sheer numbers point to a dire need to up our game when it comes to prevention and treatment:

  • 422 million – number of adults worldwide living with diabetes (this number has quadrupled since 1980)
  • 1.5 million – number of deaths directly attributed to diabetes each year

Even some of the world’s most developed nations are not immune:

  • United States – 9.1 percent of population has diabetes with a 35 percent obesity rate
  • Germany – 7.4 percent of population has diabetes, with a 22.7 percent obesity rate
  • New Zealand – 8.5 percent of population has diabetes, with a 30.6 percent obesity rate
  • Canada – 7.2 percent of population has diabetes, with a 30.1 percent obesity rate

While the numbers are sobering across the board, low-and middle-income countries are hit hardest, as primary health care providers lack essentials to disease management such as insulin and other medication and technologies. The result: a disproportionate number of deaths due to diabetes as compared to higher-income nations.

This information originally appeared in the Summer/Fall 2016 issue of the Dental Journal.

— Jennifer Fuentes

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