Joined the programme in 2019

The focus of Cities Changing Diabetes activities will be to bend the curve of diabetes through prevention, education and awareness on obesity and diabetes among Lisbon´s neighborhoods, in particular the most socially/economically disadvantaged communities and/or ethnic minorities.

Lisbon's Gloria funicular connects downtown with Bairro Alto.

According to the National Diabetes Observatory most recent data, there are more than 1 million people living with diabetes in Portugal, between the ages of 20-79 years, which corresponds to a prevalence of 13.6%. Furthermore, the number of undiagnosed people remains high, about 40%, while in the last three years there are approximately 200 newly diagnosed cases per day.1

The standardised prevalence of diabetes in Lisbon and Tagus Valley is 10.5%, according to a national examination survey conducted in 2015.2

The link between diabetes and obesity is well known, and currently about 60% of the general Portuguese population is obese or pre-obese. Women, elderly and people with lower education level present the highest obesity prevalence.2


Reducing obesity rates is an opportunity for change and a call for action in Lisbon, as 22.5% of the population in Lisbon metropolitan area are obese and 31.1% are overweight.3

Key facts and figures



of adults in Lisbon live with diabetes2



of adults in the Lisbon metro area are obese, and 31.1% are overweight3

Cities Changing Diabetes in Lisbon is committed to generating new data on the social and cultural determinants of obesity and diabetes and making sure that these non-communicable diseases are placed high on the healthcare agenda and on the agenda of those who design and manage the city.


On-the-spot diabetes screening

To raise awareness of diabetes when the COVID-19 pandemic limited access to health services in 2020, Cities Changing Diabetes Lisbon offered on-the-spot diabetes screenings. The screenings consisted of a type 2 diabetes risk assessment conducted with a digital app that delivered instant results. If the results indicated that the participant fell into a moderate-, high- or very high-risk category, they were invited to take an HbA1c test immediately. Appropriate follow-up care was then scheduled when the participant received their blood test results.


Changing the food environment

Cities Changing Diabetes Lisbon, Gehl and the Portuguese local association Locals Approach, are working together in the Ajuda parish to co-create a foodscape assessment toolkit, test the toolkit, and advance community-based projects that make it easier for people in the community to access healthy food. The local approach makes it easier for researchers to connect with community members and collect data on their experiences accessing healthy food. The data will be used to understand the relationship between the public realm and the community’s everyday food behaviours. From here, policy decisions can be better informed, and strategies can be developed to bring about long-term changes in the food environment.

"Lisbon City Council's mission today is, above all others, PEOPLE. And promoting HEALTH in all fronts is a mandatory point of honour. It is therefore with great enthusiasm that Lisbon embraces the partnership Cities Changing Diabetes. Together, we can more actively and effectively promote health literacy, encourage positive change in lifestyle and thus contribute more effectively to the prevention and containment of diabetes, that affects more than 10% of the Lisbon population."

 — Sofia Athayde, Councillor for Human and Social Rights, Health and Education, Municipality of Lisbon.


Download Lisbon fact sheet


Sociedade Portuguesa Diabetologica. Diabetes: Factos e Números – O Ano de 2016, 2017 e 2018 − Relatório Anual do Observatório Nacional da Diabetes 12/2019 –


Inquerito Nacional de Saude com Exame Físico 2013-2016 –


Inquérito Alimentar Nacional e de Atividade Física, IAN-AF 2015-2016 –