Joined the programme in 2014

One of the fastest growing cities in the United States1, Houston is home to 2.3 million people, while the Greater Houston Area is home to 7.1 million people2. Culturally and ethnically diverse, one in four Houstonians is foreign-born, and with over 100,000 employees, the Texas Medical Center is the world's largest medical complex. However, vast health disparities exist between different ethnical and socio-economic groups, and it is estimated that about 1 in 4 percent of Houstonians lack healthcare insurance3.

Houston is a sprawling urban landscape, with only 1.5% of the population walking or cycling to work, and inactivity combined with unhealthy diets has resulted in one of the highest obesity rates in the country4.

Houston Skyline - Buffalo Bayou Bridge

Reducing obesity: an opportunity for change in Houston

Without action, the increase of adult obesity in Houston 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%, Houston would see 149,000 fewer cases of type 2 diabetes and save almost 1.5 billion dollars in healthcare expenditure by 20455.

The largest challenge for the Houston region is creating an equitable healthcare system where all communities experience equal access to care and prevention services.

Key facts and figures



of adults are living with diabetes in Harris County, Texas6



of adults are overweight or obese in Harris County, Texas7



of children experience food insecurity in Harris County, Texas8



of children in 2nd grade do not meet recommended physical activity guidelines9

Cities Changing Diabetes launched in Houston in November 2014 with a comprehensive analysis of the major gaps and vulnerabilities associated with diabetes. The research identified the need to improve community involvement and promote positive health behaviours.

Cities Changing Diabetes - Houston currently features several ongoing initiatives:

●     The Faith and Diabetes Initiative  uses the reach and influence of faith-based organisations to provide self-management and prevention programs to those who are most vulnerable.

● provides a “one-stop-shop” for health navigation and diabetes-related resources, including a YouTube channel and podcast.

●     Houston’s Diabetes Peer Support Program is a network of support groups by and for people living with diabetes, so they may share experiences, help each other learn, and foster a sense of community.

●     Bite of HOPE builds healthier communities focusing on integrating medical and culinary resources specifically in the neighborhoods that lack adequate access to healthy food.

"Diabetes affects all Houstonians. The disease affects our families, our communities, our schools, our workplaces, our places of worship and ultimately our economy. There are steps we can take to confront and reduce the number of people impacted by this growing epidemic."

 Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston.


Download Houston fact sheet

Download Houston case study

The Faith and Diabetes Process Blueprint

Urban Diabetes Declaration


Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Rice University, 2022:


Greater Houston Partnership: Talking Points, January 2022:


Understanding Houston: Health risks and outcomes: Understanding Houston


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


Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2020:


Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2019:


Feeding America: Mind the Gap Data for Harris County Texas:


Texas Department of State Health Services Region, 2015-2016