The International Diabetes Federation - uniting the global diabetes community

21 June 2021

By International Diabetes Federation

Diabetes is a major global health threat. An estimated 463 million are living with the condition worldwide, 80% of which live in low- and middle-income countries. The total number is expected to rise to 700 million by 2045. Half of all people currently living with diabetes are undiagnosed.

Diabetes imposes a significant economic impact on countries and their health systems. The annual global health expenditure on diabetes is estimated at USD 760 billion. The cost of treating the complications of diabetes accounts for over 50% of this total.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the pancreas is no longer able to produce insulin, or when the body cannot make good use of the insulin it produces. Type 2 diabetes accounts for around 90% of all diabetes. The rising prevalence of type 2 diabetes is driven by rapid urbanization, unhealthy diets and increasingly sedentary lifestyles. Type 1 diabetes can affect people at any age, but is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. The prevalence of type 1 diabetes is also increasing across the world.

People with diabetes have an increased risk of developing a number of serious health problems. Diabetes is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower limb amputation. People with diabetes also have a higher risk of developing infections and have been disproportionately impacted by the severe effects of COVID-19.

Diabetes is linked to a number of other non-communicable conditions, including psoriatic disease. Many people with diabetes also live with psoriatic disease, which is associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This link makes diabetes care and prevention a priority that benefits both the diabetes and psoriatic disease communities.

One hundred years have passed since insulin was first introduced as an effective treatment for type 1 diabetes. As we mark the centenary of this landmark discovery, it is important to remind ourselves that insulin and other diabetes medicines and care continue to remain beyond the reach of many who need them. Action to address the diabetes pandemic should include access to affordable and uninterrupted care for every person living with diabetes, regardless of where they live or their economic circumstances.



The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is an umbrella organization of over 230 national diabetes associations in more than 160 countries and territories.

For more information about IDF activities and how to support them, visit

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is an umbrella organization of over 230 national diabetes associations in more than 160 countries and territories. It represents the interests of the growing number of people with diabetes and those at risk. The Federation has been leading the global diabetes community since 1950. IDF’s mission is to promote diabetes care, prevention and a cure worldwide. IDF is engaged in action to tackle diabetes from the local to the global level ― from programmes at community level to worldwide awareness and advocacy initiatives.

Since 2000, IDF has produced the IDF Diabetes Atlas, the authoritative resource on the global impact of diabetes, containing statistics on diabetes prevalence, diabetes-related mortality and health expenditure at the global, regional and national level. The IDF Diabetes Atlas is intended as a resource for people who make decisions about diabetes care and prevention and those who seek to influence such decisions. The 10th edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas will be published in December 2021.

Every year, IDF leads global activities for World Diabetes Day, marked every year on November 14, the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, credited with the co-discovery of insulin in 1921. Attracting a global audience of over 1 billion people, World Diabetes Day draws attention to issues of paramount importance to the diabetes world and aims to keep diabetes firmly in the public and political spotlight. The theme for World Diabetes Day 2021-23 is “Access to Diabetes Care: If not now, when?”

Education is a critically important, fundamental and an integral component of diabetes care that should be available and accessible to everyone. IDF is committed to providing continued professional education for health professionals and resources for people with diabetes and their caregivers in a sustainable and convenient manner. The IDF School of Diabetes is an online platform that provides high standard, evidence-based diabetes education to help health professionals diagnose diabetes early and provide the management, treatment and support that people affected require.

Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic conditions diagnosed in childhood and adolescence and type 2 diabetes is also increasingly common in this age group. IDF recognises the crucial role that schools play in shaping a child’s education and behaviours, improving awareness and tackling stigma. The Kids and Diabetes in Schools (KiDS) project aims to support a safe and supportive school environment for people with diabetes and promote healthy habits to help prevent type 2 diabetes. A selection of educational resources are available to help children with diabetes, parents, teachers and other school staff to promote diabetes awareness from a young age. For more information about IDF activities and how to support them, visit