Diabetes is a global epidemic that affects everyone. The numbers are staggering: 415 million people were living with diabetes in 2015, another 318 million people were at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and diabetes was responsible for 5 million deaths. Worryingly, the epidemic shows no signs of relenting, with the number of people living with diabetes expected to reach 642 million by 2040. Diabetes has an enormous human, social and economic impact, with one in eight health dollars currently spent on treating the disease and its associated complications.
Despite these alarming statistics, cost-effective solutions exist to reduce the global burden that diabetes currently poses. Much can be done to prevent the onset of type
2 diabetes, as outlined in the IDF Cost-effective solutions for the prevention of type 2 diabetes report, which provides an overview of the latest evidence on the different programmes available to tackle the rise of the most prevalent form of diabetes. The wide range of options presented and their cost-saving implications give cause for optimism that the current situation can be reversed.
Intensive lifestyle modification, involving the adoption of healthy diets and increased physical activity, remains the cornerstone for the prevention of type 2 diabetes. This report discusses in detail the components of a successful lifestyle modification programme, the benefits of using certain medications for primary prevention, and provides an analysis of different public health measures to promote healthier behaviours.
The intention of this report is to provide policy makers and diabetes advocates with an accessible and comprehensive summary of the current data on the clinical effects of primary prevention programmes, the costs associated with their delivery, and the resulting benefits for our societies. Evidence on actionable solutions is also included to inform policy development.
Successful prevention of type 2 diabetes will only be achievable through concrete and effective action at the community level. We hope that the practical solutions outlined in this report will help those active on the ground to change the diabetes landscape to achieve a healthier future for all.