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Diabetes cases have quadrupled in last 3 decades: WHO report

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that diabetes cases have quadrupled since 1980. The WHO added in its first Global Diabetes Report that the disease killed 1.5 million in 2012 alone, with high blood-glucose claiming another 2.2 million lives.

According to WHO, a "whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach" is required to tackle the disease. The WHO report's findings were published in the medical journal Lancet. The report highlights inequalities between countries, as diagnoses and medicine are more accessible in high-income nations.

The WHO says in its report that between 1980 and 2014, the percentage of adults with diabetes increased from 4.7% of the global population to 8.5% (from 108 million to 422 million).The rise, it says, mirrors "the global increase in the number of people who are overweight or obese."

"Prevalence is growing most rapidly in low- and middle-income countries," the report says. The biggest percentage rises were in the Western Pacific, African, Southeast Asia and Eastern Mediterranean regions. Adult mortality rates from high blood-glucose increased across the world in the last three decades with the African, Eastern Mediterranean and Southeast Asia regions worst affected.

"Some risk factors for type 2 diabetes -- such as genetics, ethnicity and age -- are not modifiable," the WHO says, but added that others, such as weight, diet, exercise and smoking, are.

"At the individual level, intensive interventions to improve diet and physical activity can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in people at high risk," it remarks.

It says all government sectors must "systematically consider the health impact of policies in trade, agriculture, finance, transport, education and urban planning - recognizing that health is enhanced or obstructed as a result of policies in these and other areas."