Older Asian adults practice Tai Chi.

A Dangerous Breakdown

Nearly half a billion people worldwide live with diabetes, and nearly 80% of those live in low- and middle-income countries. Nine in ten people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes, which is increasing fastest in low- and middle-income countries.

People with type 2 diabetes cannot effectively use the insulin their body produces to regulate blood sugar. Over time, high blood sugar damages many body systems, especially nerves and blood vessels. Diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and lower-limb amputation. Recent research has also shown a connection between diabetes and dementia, hearing loss, and some forms of cancer.

Diabetes increases the risk of early death, and diabetes-related complications can lower quality of life. The high global burden of diabetes has a negative economic impact on individuals, health care systems, and nations.

Informing Prevention

Diabetes Prevention Studies

CDC collaborates on international research targeting prevention strategies for individuals at high risk for type 2 diabetes and for general populations. Findings from CDC’s seminal Da Qing diabetes prevention study and follow-up studies show that people who take part in a structured lifestyle change program can cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes Prevention Program

CDC developed the National Diabetes Prevention Program an affordable, evidence-based lifestyle change program proven to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. The program includes guidance on:

  • Making healthy food choices
  • Being physically active
  • Coping with stress

The program is available across the United States and serves as a model other nations can adapt to further their type 2 diabetes prevention efforts.