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June 16, 2015

Curbing the Diabetes PandemicThe Need for Global Policy Solutions

Author Affiliations
  • 1Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2015;313(23):2319-2320. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.5287

The pandemic of diabetes poses an enormous public health challenge for almost every country across the globe.1,2 In 2014, more than 380 million people were living with diabetes worldwide, representing 8.3% of the global adult population.1 This number is expected to increase to 592 million by 2035.1 Diabetes is no longer a disease of the affluent, with lower socioeconomic groups being disproportionately affected in high-income countries and with 77% of the world’s diabetic population living in low- and middle-income countries. It is also no longer predominantly a disease of older persons, with almost half of the people with diabetes in the 40- to 59-year age range. Low- and middle-income countries face the added challenge of dealing with a dual burden of disease, as they are seeing an increase in obesity and diabetes levels, while still grappling with undernutrition and infectious diseases.3

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