Urbanisation comes with both risks and opportunities. The Cities Changing Diabetes initiative provides an excellent frame to perform an analysis of social determinants and economic and environmental risk factors that have an impact on health.

Roberto Pella, Vice President ANCI and Confederation Towns and Municipalities EU



More than 68% of the population commutes daily, and only 15% of the population commutes by foot or bike1

More than 40% of residents consider themselves physically inactive2

Almost one quarter of children and teens are overweight or obese3

The diabetes challenge in Rome

Since 1945, Rome has experienced significant demographic development and the population has more than doubled.1 Now the largest city in Italy, Rome is plagued by motor vehicle congestion and pollution, combined with increasing rates of obesity, lack of physical exercise and poor diet – all risks underlying the urban diabetes challenge. Additionally, the population is also aging, with 631,000 residents over the age of 65 as of 2015, adding to the pressure on the health care system.1

Reducing obesity: an opportunity for change in Rome
Without action, the increase of adult obesity in Rome 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%, Rome would see 40,000 fewer cases of type 2 diabetes and save 138 million dollars in healthcare expenditure by 2045.4


Research conducted to assess the burden of diabetes in Rome is helping elevate urban diabetes to the top of the health agenda. By revealing key sociocultural factors influencing diabetes, the findings can help identify barriers and opportunities for successful prevention, care and management. So far, the city has developed a Rome Cities Changing Diabetes Atlas, a manifesto and activities related to health-promoting policy, urban planning and community health.



Rome's partners

City of Rome

Roma Metropolitan City

Lazio Region

Italian Municipalities Association ANCI

Parliamentary Intergroup on Quality of Life in the Cities

European PublicHealth Association - Urban Health working group

Italian Healthy Cities Network


Health City Institute

National Institute for Health

Federsanità ANCI

Italian Barometer Diabetes Observatory Foundation

University of Roma Sapienza

University of Roma Tor Vergata

National Olympic Committee CONI

Danish Embassy in Rome, Italy



Centre for Social Studies and Policies (CENSIS  Foundation)

National Institute of Statistics ISTAT

Institute for Competitiveness I-COM

Centre for Outcomes and Research and Clinical  Epidemiology

Italian Diabetes Society SID

Italian Diabetologists Association  AMD

Italian Society of General Practitioners SIMG

Italian Obesity Society SIO

Italian Endocrinology Society SIE

Italian Society of Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetology ...SIEDP

Italian Association of Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition ADI

Italian Obesity Network IO NET

Fitwalking Association

Play4 Sport Italy

Active Citizenship Network (Cittadinanzattiva)

Federdiabete Lazio


1. Vaccaro K, Crialesi R, Nicolucci A, Corsaro L, Roma Cities Changing Diabetes. 2017

2. Italian Institute for Statistics (ISTAT). Primo Rapporto statistico sull’area metropolitana romana. 2016.

3. Italian Institute for Statistics (ISTAT), 2015

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