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FAQ

  • What is the Diabetes Atlas?

    The IDF Diabetes Atlas is the authoritative resource on the global burden of diabetes. First published in 2000, it is produced by IDF biennially in collaboration with experts from around the world and contains data on diabetes cases, prevalence, mortality and expenditure on the global, regional and national level.

    Figures from the Atlas are frequently quoted in scientific papers and by the media. The IDF Diabetes Atlas is considered as one of IDF’s most valuable and visible projects. A full IDF Diabetes Atlas report is produced every two years.

    The Atlas is supported by: Astra Zeneca; Lilly Diabetes; MSD; Novo Nordisk.

  • Are undiagnosed diabetes cases included in the total number of cases?

    Undiagnosed cases are already included in the number of cases reported and not additional.

  • Which region has the highest prevalence of diabetes and why?

    The North America and Caribbean Region has the highest regional prevalence of diabetes. In this region, 1 in 8 adults has diabetes.

    Increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes is associated with higher levels of urbanisation, ageing populations, more sedentary lifestyles, and a higher intake of sugar. The causes of the increased incidence of type 1 diabetes are not clear.

  • What are the main differences from the last IDF Diabetes Atlas?

    For the first time, intervals have been produced to quantify the uncertainty around estimates of diabetes prevalence.

    The uncertainty interval around the global estimate of adults with diabetes was estimated to range from 7.2% to 11.4% [339-536 million]. This means that while IDF estimates the prevalence of diabetes to be 415 million, the true figure could lie between 339 and 536 million.

  • What are the most notable updates?

    In 2015, IDF estimates that:

    • One in 11 adults has diabetes (415 million)
    • One in two (46.5%) adults with diabetes is undiagnosed
    • 12% of global health expenditure is spent on diabetes (USD673 billion)
    • One in seven births is affected by gestational diabetes
    • Three-quarters (75%) of people with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries
    • 542,000 children have type 1 diabetes
    • Every six seconds a person dies from diabetes (5.0 million deaths)

    By 2040, IDF estimates that:

    • One adult in ten will have diabetes (642 million)
    • Diabetes-related health expenditure will exceed USD802 billion
  • What should we be most concerned about?

    Diabetes-related healthcare costs are now estimated to account for 12% of the total healthcare budget. As there are projected to be 642 million people with diabetes in 2040, it is essential that more efforts are put into improving type 2 prevention plans and introducing more cost-effective management of type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.

  • Why does Europe have the highest number of children with type 1 diabetes?

    The data on the prevalence of children with type 1 diabetes is scarce, and mostly collected in high income countries, this might have an impact on the final numbers. Though the risk factors for type 1 are not clear, but have been linked to infections and other environmental risk factors. It is not known why the Europe and Middle East regions have higher incidence levels.

  • Why does the Western Pacific have the highest number of cases?

    The Western Pacific Region has a high diabetes prevalence rate (9.3%) and a very high population – 1.6 billion adults aged 20-79. Thus, there are 153 million adults estimated to be living with diabetes in this region.

  • How can we improve diagnosis rates?

    Worldwide, nearly half of all people with diabetes are undiagnosed. We can improve diagnosis rates with increased awareness of the symptoms of type 1 diabetes (thirst, increased urination, tiredness, hunger), and screening people at high risk of type 2 diabetes (increased age, increased body weight, low level of physical activity, and unhealthy diet).

  • What is the impact of gestational diabetes? What does this mean for health of future generations?

    Globally, 1 in 7 births is affected by gestational diabetes. The risk of gestational diabetes increases with older age. Gestational diabetes is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in both the mother and child.

  • Where does IDF get its information from for the Diabetes Atlas estimates?

    The data used in this edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas came from a variety of sources. Electronic databases of peer-reviewed literature were searched, ministry of health websites were reviewed, and national and regional health surveys were sought from governments and researchers. Personal communication provided from investigators in the IDF network and official reports by multinational organisations, such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) were also assessed for quality.

  • What is the uncertainty interval?

    Intervals have been produced to quantify the uncertainty around diabetes prevalence estimates.

    Uncertainty estimates were produced to estimate the impact of the various analytical decisions on the final prevalence estimates. These intervals thus reflect the uncertainty levels around the diabetes prevalence estimates.

  • When should I use national prevalence and how is this calculated?

    The national prevalence is a percentage of the number of adults (20 – 79 years) who are estimated to have diabetes in the given year (either 2015 or 2040) in a country or region. It is calculated by taking the estimated number of cases in adults and dividing by the total population in adults. The national prevalence should be used when reporting statistics for just one country or region, or when the statistics being reported are not for comparison. If you are comparing one country or region to another, you should use the age-adjusted comparative prevalence.

  • When should I use comparative prevalence and how is this calculated?

    As the prevalence of diabetes increases with age, raw prevalence estimates cannot be used for comparing the prevalence of diabetes between countries that have different age structures, such as, for example, Japan and India. In order to make such comparisons between countries, age-adjusted comparative estimates were generated for each country by applying the country’s age-specific prevalence estimates to each age-group and standardising the country’s population age structure to the global age structure of 2001. The distribution that is used for this calculation is applied to all countries in the same way and is based on a distribution developed by the World Health Organisation in order to compare the relative burden of disease in different countries.

  • What factors does IDF take into account when calculating the Atlas 2040 projections?

    For projections, we only use changes in the predicted population and urbanisation changes available from the United Nations Population Division. We do not include any predictions for changes in obesity or other risk factors. The projections are therefore quite conservative.

  • The prevalence estimates for the Africa region are less than the previous editions of the Atlas. Why is this?

    The number of data sources examining the prevalence of diabetes in adults in the region is very low. For this edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas, a total of 13 sources from 12 countries were selected, and used to extrapolate data for the other 37 countries. In 2013, the choice of which countries were used for extrapolation was primarily based on similarities in World Bank income levels. For 2015, the methodology for selecting countries for extrapolation was improved to select those with similar ethnicity, language and geography, as well as World Bank income levels. This has resulted in a reduction in the overall estimated prevalence of diabetes. It is important to note that IDF does not believe there has been a real reduction in prevalence of diabetes, but that the new estimates are likely to be a more accurate reflection of the true number of cases. As the prevalence estimates for Africa were derived from such a small number of studies, there is a high degree of uncertainty around them and as a consequence, also around the estimates for mortality and expenditure. IDF therefore recommends using the uncertainty range when describing the prevalence of diabetes in Africa.

  • The prevalence estimates for a particular country are less than the previous editions of the Atlas. Why is this?

    The estimated prevalence in a country may be lower than in previous editions, either because of changes to the methodology to make the estimate more precise, or because new data has been produced that changes the prevalence estimate. As explained above, this does not mean that IDF believes there has been a reduction in prevalence, but that the newer methodology and data provide a more realistic estimate. Detailed methodology and the full list of source data used to estimate diabetes prevalence in each country can be found at www.diabetesatlas.org

  • What are the main factors driving the increase in diabetes prevalence?

    Increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes is associated with higher levels of urbanisation, ageing populations, more sedentary lifestyles, and unhealthy diets, including high sugar intake.. The causes of the increased incidence of type 1 diabetes are not clear.

  • How is the IDF tackling diabetes?
    • The Life for A Child programme supplies insulin to 17,000 children living with diabetes
    • The IDF Framework for Action on Sugar contains recommendations for preventing type 2 diabetes by decreasing sugar consumption
    • The IDF international guidelines contain recommendations for the management of diabetes in childhood, type 2 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes in older people
    • World Diabetes Day on 14 November increases awareness about diabetes, this year the focus is on the role that healthy eating can play in managing type 1 diabetes and preventing type 2 diabetes –more information on www.worlddiabetesday.org
    • The IDF Scorecard measures government action and holds them accountable
    • D-NET connects diabetes professionals worldwide
  • Where can I get more details and country-level data?

    For more details and detailed country estimates, please contact atlas@idf.org . For media interviews with IDF spokespeople, please contact media@idf.org