Type 2 diabetes: A 21st century epidemic

Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2016 Jun;30(3):331-43. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2016.05.003. Epub 2016 May 28.


Around 415 million people around the world have diabetes (9% of adults), and the vast majority live in low- and middle-income countries. Over the next decade, this number is predicted to increase to 642 million people. Given that diabetes is a major cause of mortality, morbidity, and health care expenditures, addressing this chronic disease represents one of the greatest global health challenges of our time. The objectives of this article are three-fold: (1) to present data on the global burden of type 2 diabetes (which makes up 87-91% of the total diabetes burden), both in terms of prevalence and incidence; (2) to give an overview of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes, and to describe obesity and the developmental origins of disease risk in detail; and (3) to discuss the implications of the global burden and point out important research gaps.

Keywords: impaired fasting glucose; impaired glucose tolerance; incidence; obesity; prevalence; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Morbidity
  • Risk Factors