"The global diabetes epidemic is an emergency in slow motion," says Lars Rebien Sørensen, chief executive officer, Novo Nordisk. "While there are many factors fuelling the growth trajectory of diabetes, the most striking contributor is urbanisation and the growth of cities. The 'Cities Changing Diabetes' programme is our call to arms for people around the world to work together to tackle this for the long-term."
The aim of the programme is to map the problem, share solutions and drive concrete action to fight the diabetes challenge in the big cities around the world. The programme will be developed in partnership with University College London (UCL) and supported by Steno Diabetes Center, Denmark, a world-leading institution in diabetes care and prevention, as well as a range of local partners including healthcare professionals, city authorities, urban planners, businesses, academics and community leaders, amongst others.
During 2014, the partners will work together to better understand the diabetes challenge in cities in order to identify the actions needed to tackle it. Following the initial discovery phase, Novo Nordisk and its partners, with the help of policymakers, health authorities, the private sector and the volunteer sector, will announce action plans for each of the cities that will be part of the programme.
Two out of three with diabetes live in cities
The rise of diabetes is one of the world's most serious health challenges with statistics getting worse every year. By 2030, it is estimated that more than half a billion people will suffer from diabetes. Today, nearly two thirds of everyone with diabetes live in cities, and those who move to cities are significantly more likely to develop diabetes than those who remain in rural settings.(1)
For the first time in human history, more people live in cities than rural areas. It's 52% today - and by 2050, that figure will have risen to 70% of the global population.(2) From rising wealth and increasing consumption, to more sedentary lifestyles and inequality of access to healthcare, urban living presents a major challenge to health and has become one of the key drivers behind the acceleration of global diabetes.
Mexico City first to join
Mexico City will be the first global city to join the 'Cities Changing Diabetes' programme. With a population of 20 million, Mexico City is today one of the largest metropolitan areas in the western world.
The Minister of Health of Mexico City, Dr Armando Ahued Ortega, states that early detection of diabetes and care hereof are one of his administration's public health priorities. "We have implemented large-scale initiatives to fight overweight, obesity and diabetes and we are starting to see the results. However, diabetes continues to constitute a heavy burden for the city's health services. I look forward to seeing the results from the research phase initiated today, as they will provide a solid foundation for developing an integrated response to tackle this public health emergency. I am very proud of Mexico City taking the global lead to fight urban diabetes."
The launch event for the 'Cities Changing Diabetes' programme will take place today in Mexico City at Museo Interactivo de Economía (MIDE), a previous hospital for terminally-ill people, at 10.00 am CST.
About Novo Nordisk
Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. The company also has leading positions within haemophilia care, growth hormone therapy and hormone-replacement therapy. Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 38,000 employees in 75 countries, and markets its products in more than 180 countries.
About UCL (University College London)
Founded in 1826, UCL was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to admit students regardless of race, class, religion or gender, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. UCL is among the world’s top universities, as reflected by performance in a range of international rankings and tables. UCL currently has 27,000 students from almost 140 countries, and around 11,000 employees. Annual turnover is nearly £1 billion.
About Steno Diabetes Center
Steno Diabetes Center is a world leading institution within diabetes care and prevention. Steno is owned by Novo Nordisk A/S and is a 'not for profit' organisation working in partnership with the Danish healthcare system. Steno treats around 5600 people with diabetes every year.
1. IDF Diabetes Atlas. International Diabetes Federation 2013. 6th edition.
2. World Urbanization Prospects, the 2011 Revision. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs