The dynamics driving diabetes in Shanghai are complex: growing wealth, changing lifestyles and an ageing population, alongside a rising number of younger people getting the disease. Also, fast-paced working lives can stand in the way of diabetes management. Through in-depth learning and connecting our knowledge, Cities Changing Diabetes can help us to improve even further the effectiveness of taking on diabetes in our city.

Professor Jia Weiping, Shanghai Institute of Diabetes Director 


Shanghai is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing urban areas1


In the last decade Shanghai has built 150 skyscrapers and the world’s first super underground city2


Life expectancy in Shanghai is 83 – more than double what it was in 19493

The diabetes challenge in Shanghai

One of the world’s fastest growing urban area4, Shanghai has also seen a demographic transition with life expectancy more than doubling since 19495. Consistent with the profile of an ageing population, disease patterns have shifted from infection diseases and infant health problems to NCDs such as diabetes..

Reducing obesity: an opportunity for change in Shanghai
Without action, the increase of adult obesity in Shanghai 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%, Shanghai would see 800,000 fewer cases of type 2 diabetes and save 353 million dollars in healthcare expenditure by 2045.6




Cities Changing Diabetes research from 2015 in Shanghai revealed a high prevalence of diabetes along with sociocultural vulnerabilities, including how diabetes impacts families. The research also indicated that one-third of people with diabetes are undiagnosed. The government is therefore supporting a three-year Diabetes Intervention Programme focused on strengthening diabetes care through the city’s health system.



Shanghai's partners



2. The Sky Scraper Center. The Global Tall Building Database, Shanghai, 2017. Global Cities. The 2016 Report: The future of real estate in the world’s leading cities. Newmark Grubb Knight Frank; 2016

3. China Daily: Life expectancy in Shanghai tops 83 years. 2017

4. Zhao S, Da L, Tang Z, Fang H, Song K, Fang J. Ecological consequences of rapid urban expansion: Shang-hai, China. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 2006;4(7):341–346.

5. China Daily: Life expectancy in Shanghai tops 83 years. 2017; htm. Accessed August, 2017. 

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