Diabetes is a chronic, and largely preventable, disease that can lead to cardiovascular disease, blindness, kidney failure, loss of limbs and loss of life. It causes suffering and hardship for the approximately 60 million people in the European Region currently living with the disease, while also straining the Region’s economies and health systems.
Prevalence of diabetes is increasing in the European Region, already reaching rates of 10-12% of the population in some Member States. This increase is strongly associated with increasing trends towards overweight and obesity, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and socioeconomic disadvantage. These risk factors also contribute to the development of the other three noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) that have become international public health priorities (cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases and cancer), making it imperative that the prevention of diabetes be integrated into population approaches to prevent NCDs as a group.