A global diabetes initiative aimed at tackling growing rates of the disease in big cities around the world has been launched by healthcare company Novo Nordisk.
The new ambitious ‘Cities Changing Diabetes’ programmen, has been created to combat the urban diabetes problem. From increasing consumption and more sedentary lifestyles to large variations in access to healthcare, urban living presents a major challenge to health and has become one of the key factors behind the rapid growth of global diabetes.
In fact, latest statistics show that nearly two in three people with diabetes live in cities, and those who move to city locations face a considerably greater risk of developing diabetes than individuals who remain in rural areas.
“While there are many factors fuelling the growth trajectory of diabetes, the most striking contributor is urbanisation and the growth of cities,” Lars Rebien Sorense, Novo Nordisk CEO, explains.
“The ‘Cities Changing Diabetes’ programme is our call to arms for people around the world to work together to fix this for the long-term.”
The first city to join the ‘Cities Changing Diabetes’ programme was Mexico City, which is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the western world with a population of around 20 million.
The programme was launched at a special event in the city’s Museo Interactivo de Economia (MIDE), previously a hospital for the terminally-ill, on Friday 28 March and will soon get underway in other major cities across North American, Europe and Asia.
It will be developed in partnership with University College London (UCL) and supported by Denmark-based Steno Diabetes Center, a world-leading institution in diabetes care and prevention, as well as a range of local partners including healthcare professionals, city authorities, businesses, academics and community leaders.
Over the next nine months, these partners will work together to get a clearer picture of the diabetes challenge in different cities and identify solutions for tackling it.
Action plans for each of the cities will then be put together by Novo Nordisk and its partners, with the help of policymakers, health authorities, and both the private and volunteer sectors.

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