Global Report on Diabetes


The Global Report on Diabetes studies the prevalence of diabetes across the globe. This report, published in 2016 and the first of its kind, also examines ways to counter diabetes which affects more than 400 million people globally.

Diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin produced. It is one of the four priority non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that world leaders at the 2011 Political Declaration on the Prevention and Control of NCDs targeted. It is essential to pay attention to diabetes as this disease, if not kept in check, affects long term quality of life with complications that include renal issues, cardiovascular problems, pregnancy complications, loss of vision and amputations, the report states.

This 88-page document is divided into four sections: Global Burden of Diabetes (Section 1); Preventing Diabetes (Section 2); Managing Diabetes (Section 3); and National Capacity for Prevention and Control of Diabetes: A Snapshot (Section 4).


  1. The prevalence of diabetes globally has risen from 4.7 per cent of the adult population in 1980 to 8.5 per cent in 2014. This amounts to a sharp jump from 108 million individuals in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. 

  2. In 2012, diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths and high blood glucose caused 2.2 million deaths. As high as 43 per cent of all these deaths occurred before the age of 70.

  3. In terms of prevalence of diabetes, diabetes induced deaths before the age of 70 and healthcare expenditure, low- and middle-income countries are more adversely affected than higher income countries.

  4. With global healthcare spending on diabetes tripling between 2003 and 2013, the estimated annual cost of diabetes to the world stands at a staggering US $827 billion. Global GDP losses owing to diabetes between 2011 and 2030 are estimated to be $1.7 trillion.

  5. Type 2 diabetes forms most of diabetes cases and is largely preventable through lifestyle changes like sufficient physical activity, nutritious diet and giving up smoking.

  6. This report acknowledges that preventative lifestyle changes require institutional support in the form of adequate recreational spaces, policies that make non-motorized vehicles accessible and safe, price and trade regulation to promote healthy. Interventions in schools and workplaces to increase physical activity and improve diet should also be considered.

  7. This report highlights the importance of access to affordable essential medicines, especially insulin to manage diabetes. Only 23 per cent low-income countries report general availability of insulin as opposed to 96 per cent of high-income countries.

  8. This report suggests integrated treatment of diabetes with other diseases like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis to improve overall efficacy of outcomes.

  9. 126 countries report having a national guideline for diabetes which is either fully or partially implemented. Seventy per cent of high- and middle-income countries implement these guidelines as opposed to 46 per cent of low-income countries. 

  10. The report encourages research to close knowledge gaps regarding risk factors, prevention and control of diabetes. 

    Focus and Factoids by Fiona Raval.

    PARI Library’s health archive project is part of an initiative supported by the Azim Premji University to develop a free-access repository of health-related reports relevant to rural India.


World Health Organization


World Health Organization


21 Mar, 2021