The diabetes challenge in Philadelphia

Cities are on the front line for diabetes. Two-thirds of people with diabetes globally live in cities. 
And, the highest growth in diabetes is expected to happen in urban settings.1



Among the top 10 cities in US population, Philadelphia ranks 4th in diabetes prevalence.2,3,4 In Philadelphia, nearly 1 million adults will be estimated to have diabetes by 2030.5 That’s enough to fill the seats at Lincoln Financial Field over 14 times.




As part of Cities Changing Diabetes, a global program sponsored by Novo Nordisk involving 25 cities around the world, more than 100 health, faith, business and community leaders from across the city will be working together to develop new ways to try to change the trajectory of diabetes in Philadelphia.



Philadelphia is now the second city in the US and the 25th city globally in the Cities Changing Diabetes network. Houston joined the Cities Changing Diabetes five years ago and today has six initiatives that reach, empower and connect more than 75,000 Houstonians with diabetes prevention and management resources in their city. The Houston research identified behavioral/psychosocial characteristics of those who are more vulnerable to developing diabetes.

The Philadelphia research builds on that approach used in Houston and takes it to the next level: the neighborhood. The research underscores the importance of community in addressing health and wellness and wellbeing. The Cities Changing Diabetes – Philadelphia coalition will use this information as it begins to develop and ultimately implement new programs to support diabetes prevention.


1. Bending The Curve On Urban Diabetes Briefing Book, Cities Changing Diabetes, 2017

2. United States Census Bureau. American Fact Finder. Annual estimates of the resident population for incorporated places of 50,000 or more, ranked by July 1, 2018 population. Accessed September 19, 2019.

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 500 cities project: local data for better health. Interactive city map. Available at Accessed August 26, 2019.

4. Refers to diagnosed diabetes in adults >/= 18 years old from 2016

5. Institute for Alternative Futures. Diabetes 2030 forecasts, 2015: Philadelphia metropolitan area diabetes data & forecasts. diabetes2030/PHILADELPHIADataSheet.pdf. Accessed August 23, 2019.