Global Health Problems

Type 2 diabetes and obesity are major health problems that have reached epidemic proportions and are growing at alarming rates around the world.  Currently, nearly 170 million people worldwide face the dual challenge of managing both type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Consider the following statistics from the International Diabetes Federation, the World Health Organization and the International Association for the Study of Obesity:

Type 2 Diabetes

  • Approximately 344 million people worldwide are living with type 2 diabetes.
  • Type 2 diabetes is responsible for approximately 90 percent of all diabetes cases.
  • In 2013 more than 4.5 million people died from diabetes-related causes – one death every six seconds.
  • Diabetes imposes a large economic burden on the individuals, national healthcare systems and economies. Healthcare expenditures on diabetes accounted for 10.8% of the total healthcare expenditure in the world in 2013.
  • By 2035, estimated global healthcare expenditures to treat and prevent diabetes and its complications are expected to total at least $627 billion (expressed in International Dollars). 6


  • Overweight and obese individuals are at a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • There are more than 500 million obese adults worldwide and almost 1.5 billion who are overweight.
  • Around 700 million adults are projected to be obese by 2015.7

6. Han Cho , N., Whiting, D., Guariguata, L., Montoya, P., Forouhi, N., Hambleton, I., & Li, R., et al. (2013). Idf diabetes atlas, sixth edition. Retrieved from http://www.idf.org/sites/default/files/EN_6E_Atlas_Full_0.pdf (accessed Dec, 13, 2013)

7. World Health Organization. Obesity and overwieght factsheet (2013, March ). Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/ (accessed Dec, 13, 2013)