Diabetes surge hits every nation


Someone you know will have diabetes, but many people with diabetes don’t know they have it, according to the latest global Diabetes Atlas released for World Diabetes Day (14 November).

“The global statistics for diabetes are staggering 415 million people now have diabetes and the number is set to rise beyond 642 million by 2040” said Prof Greg Johnson, CEO Diabetes Australia. “That’s one in ten of the world’s adult population. In 2015, our Western Pacific Region has the highest diabetes burden with some Pacific Island nations showing rates as high as one adult in every three with diabetes.”

Speaking in the lead up to World Diabetes Day, Prof Johnson commented on the need for stronger action in Australia to prevent more people developing type 2 diabetes, and to better care for and support Australians with diabetes. “Over 1.15m Australians have diabetes” he said. “This ranges from very young children, to adolescents and young adults, women during pregnancy, and adults of all ages. We see a very high burden of diabetes in Indigenous Australians, rural and remote communities, and the poor and disadvantaged.”

“People living with diabetes are at serious risk of complications including blindness, limb amputations, heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and experience high levels of depression, anxiety and distress,” said Prof Johnson.

According to Prof Johnson, diabetes is fast becoming the major threat to human health and productivity.

“Here in Australia, around 1.7 million people are living with diabetes and this costs Australia over $14.6 billion per year. Soon, diabetes will overtake heart disease as the leading cause of disease burden in Australia.”

“On World Diabetes Day, and every day, we must raise awareness that we can prevent and manage diabetes. We can prevent more people developing type 2 diabetes, and we can prevent most of the complications with better care,” said Prof Johnson. “We have good evidence of what to do – but we need to scale up our fight against diabetes – currently the size of our efforts to fight diabetes is simply not enough to deal with the size of the threat.”

“The release of the new global figures underlines the urgency to ensure the response to diabetes is a wholeofcommunity focus on prevention, treatment, care and support for diabetes,” said Prof Johnson.

2015 Global statistics on diabetes

In 2015, the International Diabetes Federation’s (IDF) Diabetes Atlas estimates that:

  • One in 11 adults has diabetes (415 million)
  • One in two (46.5 per cent) adults with diabetes is undiagnosed
  • 12 per cent of global health expenditure is spent on diabetes (USD673 billion)
  • One in seven births is affected by gestational diabetes
  • Three quarters (75 per cent) 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

37 percent of all adults with diabetes live in our Western Pacific region;

  • China with over 100 million people with diabetes (ranked highest number of people with diabetes),
  • Indonesia with 10 million people with diabetes (7th highest),
  • Japan with 7.2 million people with diabetes (9th highest).

The Western Pacific also has the country with the world’s highest prevalence of diabetes in the Pacific Island nation of Tokelau where 30 per cent of adult population has diabetes. Cambodia has the lowest at 3 per cent.

Prevalence of diabetes in Australia (uses Australian data):

  • 280 Australians develop diabetes every day.
  • Over 100,000 Australians have developed diabetes in the past year.
  • The best current estimate is that at least 1.7 million Australians have diabetes and this estimate includes all types of diabetes as well as silent, undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.
  • Over 1.17 million Australians currently have diagnosed diabetes and are registered with the National Diabetes Services Scheme (see attached NDSS snapshot):

This includes approximately:

  • 120,000 people with type 1 diabetes.
  • 1,000,000 people with type 2 diabetes.
  • 32,000 women with gestational diabetes in the past year


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