The number of adults estimated to be living with diabetes has nearly quadrupled over 35 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today, urging huge efforts to change eating habits and increase physical activity.
"Globally, an estimated 422 million adults were living with diabetes in 2014, compared to 108 million in 1980," the UN health agency said in its first-ever report on the disease, warning that the condition had spread because of worldwide changes "in the way people eat, move and live."
The disease directly caused 1.5 million deaths in 2012 -- the latest available global figures -- but elevated blood glucose levels linked to diabetes were responsible for an additional 2.2 million deaths that year, the report said.
The region worst affected, with 131 million estimated cases in 2014, was the WHO's Western Pacific region, which includes China and Japan.
The Southeast Asia region was the next most affected, with 96 million cases.
Europe and the Americas were third and fourth on the list, with 64 million and 62 million cases respectively.