There is no question about it: diabetes is the number one health challenge in Mexico City. We have a lot to do, from encouraging healthy lifestyles, to supporting treatment which can avoid some of the tragic complications. Diabetes is today the primary cause of death across the country. Cities Changing Diabetes is an important contribution to tackling diabetes in Mexico City. For the first time, people leading some of the city’s most impactful initiatives are coming together to share and learn.

Alcalde Miguel Ángel Mancera Espinosa, Former Mexico City Mayor



Mexico City’s metro system is one of the world’s busiest, with >4 million users daily1

Mexicans drink a combined 3.6m canned drinks every day2

Mexico City is the 8th best city in the world for street food3

The diabetes challenge in Mexico City

One of the great megacities of the world, Mexico City is in the clutches of a diabetes epidemic. Currently an estimated 2.3 million people in Mexico City have diabetes4, a crisis that is fuelled by the city’s increasing rate of overweight and obesity.5

Reducing obesity: an opportunity for change in Mexico City
Without action, the increase of adult obesity in Mexico City will continue along current trends. However, if weight distribution were to remain at 2017 levels and we could reduce the rate of obesity by 25%, Mexico City would see 700,000 fewer cases of type 2 diabetes and save 669 million dollars in healthcare expenditure by 2045. 6



In 2014, Mexico City became the first city to join the Cities Changing Diabetes programme. Research highlighted socioeconomic vulnerabilities and revealed that numerous barriers, including lack of resources and trust in institutions, can prevent engagement with healthcare services. 

To make care more accessible, the partnership established a diabetes clinic in an underserved area of the city and expanded an existing maternal health programme to reach individuals who are at risk for or who have diabetes. These efforts seek to improve the quality of care by addressing identified vulnerabilities, focusing efforts on health-promoting policy and strengthening the health system.



Mexico City's partners



2. Vergara-Castaneda A, Castillo-Martinez L, Colin-Ramirez E, Orea-Tejeda A. Overweight, obesity, high blood pressure and lifestyle factors among Mexican children and their parents. Environ Health Prev Med. 2010;15(6):358–366.


4. Cities Changing Diabetes. Diabetes Projection Model, Mexico City. Data on file. Novo Nordisk. In: Incentive, ed. Holte, Denmark 2017.

5. Barquera S et al. Cities Changing Diabetes: Diabetes mellitus representative survey in the Federal District: Quantitative component. National Institute of Public Health, Mexico; 2015.

6. UNDESA. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. World Urbanization Prospects, the 2014 Revision, Highlights. 2014. 978-92-1-151517-6.