What is the Most Common Type of Diabetes Worldwide?

Page content

Diabetes around the World

Diabetes is not just an American problem. The World Health Organization (WHO) cites several statistics regarding diabetes worldwide. They state that:

  • Diabetes is responsible for roughly 5 percent of all deaths each year worldwide.
  • Approximately 80 percent of diabetics live in low and middle income countries.
  • Unless urgent action is taken, diabetes deaths are likely to increase by more then 50 percent in the next 10 years.
  • The problem of diabetes around the world is a global epidemic of chronic disease.

So, what is the most common type of diabetes worldwide? According to the WHO, type 2 diabetes makes up approximately 90 percent of the worldwide diabetes cases. They believe that this is likely due to the increase in the lack of physical activity and the incidence of overweight and obesity.

Who is Affected?

According to a study conducted by the Diabetes Institute in cooperation with the WHO’sCollaborating Center for the Epidemiology of Diabetes Mellitus, type 2 diabetes affects people across multiple ethnic groups, as well as social and economic levels. An estimate was made that by the year 2010, “220 million people are projected to have the disease.”

The WHO states that approximately 3 million deaths worldwide can be attributed to diabetes.One WHO estimate shows diabetes prevalence in the world at a level of 171,000,000 in 2000, with 366,000,000 projected by the year 2030.

What is Being Done?

Both the World Health Organization and Worldwide Initiative for Diabetes Education have programs designed to help combat the international incidences of diabetes. The programs are designed to educate health professionals in Africa, Eastern Mediterranean , Middle East, Europe, North America, South America, Central America, South East Asia, and the Western Pacific regions.

The WHO and the International Diabetes Federation joined together to create “Diabetes Action Now,” a program designed to provide assistance to the implementation of the Diabetes Programme run by the World Health Organization.

The WHO Diabetes Programme is explained as having the goal of improving health via measures that help address diabetes. The primary target for this program are the low to middle income countries affected by diabetes. It should be noted that the core functions of this programme “are in close alignment with the core functions of WHO.”


In the study to answer the question, “What is the most common type of diabetes worldwide?” the answer may seem simple (type 2 diabetes) but the reason for the prevalence and the solutions that can address all of the cultures, countries, social and economic levels involved is far more complex.


Diabetes. World Health Organization (WHO). https://www.who.int/diabetes/en/

Type 2 Diabetes Worldwide According to the New Classification and Criteria. Jonathan E. Shaw, MRCP; Paul Z. Zimmet, MD, PHD, FRACP; Daniel McCarty, PHD; Maximillian de Courten, MD. Diabetes Care 23, (Suppl 2)B5-B10, 2000. https://journal.diabetes.org/diabetescare/FullText/Supplements/DiabetesCare/Supplement400/B5.asp

Role of Diabetes Education: Diabetes Education World Map. Worldwide Initiative for Diabetes Education. https://www.worldwidediabetes.org/education/role/world_map/index.htm