On April 6, 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO) together with the Risk Factor Collaboration on non-communicable diseases (NCD-RisC) published a study on worldwide trends in diabetes in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet. The NCD-RisC researchers analyzed data from 751 studies including 4,372,000 adults from 146 countries and estimated trends in diabetes prevalence by sex and from 1980 to 2014. Diabetes was defined as fasting plasma glucose of 7.0 mmol/L or higher, history of diagnosis with diabetes, or use of insulin or oral hypoglycaemic drugs. The researchers found that global age-standardized diabetes prevalence increased from 4.3% in 1980 to 9.0% in 2014 in men, and from 5.0% to 7.9% in women. The number of adults worldwide affected with diabetes increased from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. Diabetes prevalence was lowest in northwestern Europe and highest in Polynesia and Micronesia (nearly 25%) in 2014. The study concludes that since 1980, age-standardized diabetes prevalence in adults has increased, or at best remained unchanged, in every country considered. The number of adults with diabetes worldwide has quadrupled due to this rise in diabetes prevalence, together with population growth and ageing. The burden of diabetes has increased faster in low-income and middle-income countries than in high-income countries.

In a blog post published on April 11, 2016, Sarah Howard from the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE) reports on a recent study identifying chemicals potentially affecting the development of obesity and diabetes by using Toxicity Forecaster (ToxCast) data. The study’s screening approach showed that the spectrum of chemicals potentially involved in diabetes and obesity is much broader than previously anticipated, Howard writes. However, she also points out that ToxCast screening tests may be inaccurate and refers to a study finding ToxCast assays and laboratory studies on obesogens do not correlate well (FPF reported).

Read more

IFT (April 12, 2016). “WHO study: Diabetes cases reach 422 million worldwide.

Sarah Howard (April 11, 2016). “Which chemicals are linked to diabetes and obesity? Perhaps more than we think.Our Health and Environment Blog


NCD-RisC (2016). “Worldwide trends in diabetes since 1980: a pooled analysis of 751 population-based studies with 4·4 million participants.The Lancet 387(10027):1513-1530.

Auerbach, S. et al. (2016). “Prioritizing environmental chemicals for obesity and diabetes outcomes research: A screening approach using ToxCast high throughput data.Environmental Health Perspectives (published online March 15, 2016).