This article is 11 months old
Reaction: more than 1.3 billion people will be living with diabetes by 2050, a figure accelerated by inequality

If effective strategies are not developed, more than 1.3 billion people will be living with diabetes by 2050, some 800 million more than today. This is according to the lead study in a set of papers published in The Lancet and The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. In addition, 75% of these people will live in low- and middle-income countries, which is largely due to "structural racism and inequality", according to the editorial accompanying the studies.

23/06/2023 - 00:30 CEST
Expert reactions

Fernando Gómez Peralta - diabetes previsiones EN

Fernando Gómez Peralta

Coordinator of the Diabetes Area of the Spanish Society of Endocrinology and Nutrition (SEEN) and head of the Endocrinology and Nutrition Unit at the General Hospital of Segovia

Science Media Centre Spain

The studies are very powerful at a global level and possibly valid both as predictors and for designing preventive and awareness-raising strategies, although the accuracy of the data depends on the sources in each country which, as in our case, does not always have robust national data. 

Regarding the editorial and press release accompanying the studies, I think it is very important to highlight the inequalities in the prediction of incidence and prevalence of diabetes mellitus by race, geographic location and economic status, but it would be important to differentiate the impact these inequalities have on incidence predictions from the impact they have on health outcomes. This is important because the reasons and measures to be taken are different.  

Regarding the predicted increase in prevalence of diabetes mellitus in Europe and in richer countries, the growth is mainly determined by the demographic structure and the increase in life expectancy, including the population with diabetes: this is actually good news, but it forces to design health policy strategies for the increased costs of managing this older population with diabetes and its complications. 

In low-income and high population growth areas, the main reason for the increase is lifestyle changes, so the measures to reduce new incidence are health education and obesity prevention. 

Regarding differences in health outcomes in relation to diabetes mellitus (differences in morbidity and mortality) by race/disadvantaged areas even in developed countries: specific proactive case-finding strategies need to be designed and racial differences in diabetes treatment need to be studied.

The author has not responded to our request to declare conflicts of interest
Global, regional, and national burden of diabetes from 1990 to 2021, with projections of prevalence to 2050: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 202
  • Research article
  • Peer reviewed
  • People
The Lancet
Publication date

GBD 2021 Diabetes Collaborators.

Study types:
  • Research article
  • Peer reviewed
  • People
The 5Ws +1
Publish it