Study highlights staggering scale of diabetes problem in Mexico City

More than one in three adults living in Mexico City is living with diabetes or pre-diabetes, according to the top-line results of the first major quantitative study of the disease’s prevalence in the Mexican capital.

A study commissioned by the Cities Changing Diabetes programme found that 13.2% of the city’s adult population are living with the condition – 25% of whom have yet to be diagnosed.

What’s more, a further 19.2% of adults (defined as those aged between 20 and 69 years of age) were found to be living with pre-diabetes.

The findings – which also included data on obesity levels, insulin use and diet and exercise – were presented by Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health during the Second Diabetes and Obesity Forum of Mexico City on Friday (18 September).

Health emergency

Introducing the report, Dr Armando Ahued, Minister of Health of Mexico City, said the results would spur policymakers to take decisive action against what he described as a “health emergency”.

“We know that the results presented today will create a great drive within our health systems that will allow us to identify the main barriers involved in facing diabetes, obesity and pre-diabetes in the capital and throughout the entire country,” he added.

The meeting was attended by Novo Nordisk’s CEO Lars Rebien Sørensen, who gave a keynote address to attendees in which he described the Mexican health system as a “role-model” for the rest of the world.

“The key results presented today are setting a unique precedent and an undisputed opportunity to continue leading existing care models and to consolidate actions that allow focusing the efforts created by the Mexican health system to combat diabetes, obesity and pre-diabetes,” he told the forum. “This work must be faced jointly by the private and public sectors and civil society.”

Full data from studies conducted in each of the programme’s five study cities (Mexico City, Shanghai, Houston, Copenhagen and Tianjin) will be presented at the inaugural Cities Changing Diabetes Summit in Copenhagen on 16-17 November.