Every year, the IDF produces a report on diabetes rates in Europe. The latest, Diabetes In Europe Policy Puzzle: The State We Are In, sheds some interesting light on the worst-affected nations.

These are the 10 nations hit most heavily by rising diabetes rates. The UK’s position might just surprise you…

Cyprus Europe Diabetes
10. Cyprus: 10.2 per cent of the population has diabetes

The report estimates that Cyprus spends $2,295 on each person with diabetes. Not surprisingly, diabetes care is a big priority for Cyprus. The government has taken positive steps to address the issue, with a large-scale prevention plan to be introduced in 2016.

Spain Europe diabetes
9. Spain: 10.58

Spain spends $3,090 per person. There are national and regional strategies in place, but diabetes associations aren’t happy with them. They don’t think there’s enough support or resources to make a difference.


Malta Europe Diabetes

8. Malta: 10.69

Malta spends $2,113 per person. Most of their prevention methods focus on lifestyle changes. People are encouraged to eat well, exercise more, and quit smoking. Unlike Spain, diabetes prevention programmes in Malta get a lot of political backing.


Macedonia Europe Diabetes

7. Macedonia: 11.44

Macedonia spends $403 per person. Their prevention programmes have a strong political backing. However, they don’t have a lot of money to spend. The Macedonian Diabetes Association says:

“The funds available are limited and their duration is uncertain due to the many political, organisational and financial changes in our country.”


Germany Europe Diabetes

6. Germany: 11.52

Germany spends $4,943 per person, one of the highest in Europe. Different regions prioritise diabetes more than others, but diabetes isn’t considered a big national concern. There’s not much political commitment to prevention. Neither are there many resources allocated. The IDF report asked a German respondent if diabetes is “a priority on the political agenda in Germany”:

“Unfortunately not. They try to do different small things or minor initiatives instead of one good coordinated effort.”


Serbia Europe Diabetes

5. Serbia: 11.96

Serbia spends $666 dollars per person. Like Macedonia, intentions are good. High-risk groups are targeted. But not a lot actually gets done, largely because the resources allocated are too few. As one Serbian diabetes association said: “There are plenty of documents but actions are not very well organised.”


Montenegro Europe Diabetes

4. Montenegro: 12


Bosnia Europe Diabetes

3. Bosnia and Herzegovina: 12.01

Bosnia and Herzegovina spends $523 per person with diabetes, and just pips Montenegro to 3rd in Europe. 12 per cent of Bosnians have diabetes.


Portugal Europe Diabetes

2. Portugal: 13.09

Portugal spends $2,011 per person. The government takes the problem of diabetes very seriously. But power is delegated to individual regions, so implementation is patchy. It’s difficult to judge the overall effectiveness of Portugal’s diabetes plan.


Turkey Europe Diabetes

1. Turkey: 14.71

Turkey spends $895 on each person with diabetes. At 14.71 per cent of adults, Turkey has higher diabetes rates than anywhere else in Europe. Diabetes was described as “one of the top priorities” for the Turkish government. The many prevention plans in place are strongly supported by government, but not enough money is being thrown at the issue.


United Kingdom Europe Diabetes

And what about the UK? For all the scary news headlines about how diabetes will bankrupt the NHS, the UK is actually one of the less affected nations in Europe, all the way in down in 43rd place. Sure, the plans are flawed, and 6.6 per cent of the population with diabetes is still far too high, but we’re a nation that’s made great progress towards tackling the growing problem of diabetes.


Read the full report here.

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