Apac leads world diabetes league, Singapore second in developed world

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Related tags: Diabetes, Diabetes mellitus, Asia

Asia-Pacific is home to the country with the world’s highest rate of diabetes and also one of the lowest, the annual International Diabetes Foundation “Atlas” reveals.

The Pacific Island nation of Tokelau, with a 30.0% age-adjusted comparative prevalence, was found to have the world’s highest proportion among its residents, while Cambodia, at just 3.0%, was towards the other end of the scale. 

With 110m diabetics, China was found to have the biggest number of sufferers in the world, followed by India.

Out of developed world countries, Singapore is behind only the United States in terms of the proportion of its residents with the lifestyle disease. The report found that 10.5% of Singaporeans aged 20-79 were estimated to have diabetes, just behind 10.75% of Americans.

There are now 102m adults in southeast and east Asia with impaired glucose tolerance who are at increased risk of future diabetes. The IDF predicts that in 25 years, there will be 215m people with diabetes across the region, equivalent to 11.9% of the adult population. 

An estimated 60,700 children under the age of 15 have type 1 diabetes, with approximately 10,000 new cases diagnosed in 2015. Over 30,000 of these children are in China. 

With 1.9m deaths among adults last year, the western Pacific had the highest number of deaths due to diabetes of all the regions surveyed, with almost 45% of deaths occurring in people under the age of 60. China alone reported 1.3m deaths due to diabetes in 2015. 

With 1.2m deaths in 2015, south Asia had the second highest number of deaths attributable to diabetes. More than half of these deaths occurred in people under 60 years of age, with India the biggest contributor to regional mortality. The country saw 1m diabetes deaths over the study period.

Down Under, New Zealand had a higher rate of diabetes (7%) than Australia (5%), one of the lowest-ranked developed nations.

The prevalence of type 1 and type 2 diabetes is increasing worldwide​,” said Professor Nam Cho, chair of the IDF Diabetes Atlas committee. 

While the exact cause of type 1 diabetes is currently unknown, trends such as urbanisation, unhealthy diets and reduced physical activity are all contributing lifestyle factors that increase the risk of type 2 diabetes​.”

Petra Wilson, chief executive of the IDF, called on governments to “lead the way in creating healthier environments, implementing fiscal policies on unhealthy food and using the revenues generated to help prevent and manage all types of diabetes​”.

As rates of type 2 diabetes increase in many countries around the world, we urgently need preventative action​,” she said.

Related topics: Markets, All Asia-Pacific, Food safety

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