Joined the programme in 2016

After joining Cities Changing Diabetes, Rome mapped the city’s prevalence of diabetes and obesity. The insights have resulted in the implementation of a number of good practices.

View on the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II - first king of a unified Italy in Rome, in Piazza Venezia

Since 1945, Rome has experienced significant demographic development and the population has more than doubled.1 Now the largest city in Italy, Rome is challenged by motor vehicle congestion and pollution, combined with increasing rates of obesity (44.5% of adults in Rome are overweight or living with obesity2), lack of physical exercise and poor diet – all risks underlying the urban diabetes challenge. Additionally, the population is also aging, adding to the pressure on the health care system.

Key facts and figures



of adults in Rome were living with diabetes in 20171



of adults in Rome are overweight or living with obesity2




of Rome residents consider themselves physically inactive3

Cities Changing Diabetes in Rome conducted a three-year mapping project, examining the impact of urbanisation on type 2 diabetes in the metropolitan area of Italy's largest city. The data gathered during this process was used to develop the Rome Cities Changing Diabetes Atlas, which provides information about the prevalence of diabetes and contains information relating to health-promoting policies, urban planning and community health.  


Walking through Rome

The data from the mapping project revealed that 40% of Rome residents consider themselves physically inactive3. To address this, the city collaborated with its partners to create 74 walking routes that cover approximately 460km in Rome's metropolitan area.


The walking routes, which roughly 100,000 people use, allow residents to engage in accessible physical activity for free. Special measures have been taken to ensure that people living with diabetes are encouraged to make use of these walking routes. Several other cities in Italy have already been inspired to replicate this simple but effective intervention. Designed by Olympic gold medallist Maurizio Damilano, the routes cover urban, tourist, environmental and athletic itineraries. The information is accessible via a smartphone application that allows users to track how far they have walked and interacted with other users.


Educating city managers for better health

Changing the health of urban communities requires health at the centre of policy decision-making. A credible route to acquiring the necessary skills and knowledge to create health-centred policies was missing in Rome, leading Cities Changing Diabetes to work with the Health City Institute to create the Health City Manager curriculum.


Offered at Roma Sapienza University, the course provides students with the competencies and knowledge to manage city health effectively. The graduates of this course can work with authorities responsible for public health to ensure that health promotion and disease prevention are considered when policies are made.


"Within the European Cities Changing Diabetes programme, Rome was the first city to present a passport with urban and tourist itineraries to visit specific areas by walking through the city. Walking is healthy, and this administration is proud of contributing to making Rome the first walkable city by developing 74 itineraries which cover a total of 460km of wellbeing by encouraging exercise and healthy activities."

 Angelo Diario, Chair of Rome City Council's Committee for Sports, Wellness, and Quality of Life 


Download Rome action case Walking Route

Download Rome action case Health City Manager

Download Rome Urban Diabetes Declaration


Censis Foundation 

Centre for Outcomes Research and Clinical Epidemiology 



Diabete Italia 

FederDiabete Lazio 


Fitwalking Association 

Fondazione SportCity 

Health City Institute 

IBDO Foundation 

Institute for Competitiveness 


Italian Association of Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition (ADI) 

Italian Diabetes Society (SID) 

Italian Diabetologist Association (AMD) 

Italian Endos Society (SIE) 

Italian Municipalities Association (ANCI) 

Italian Obesity Association (SIO) 

Italian Society of GPs (SIMG) 

Italian Society of Paediatric Endos (SIEDP) 

Ministry for Youth Policies 

National Institute for Health 

National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) 

Parliamentary Intergroup on QoL in Cities 

Rome Capital City 

University of Roma Foro Italico 

University of Roma La Sapienza 

University of Roma Tor Vergata


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


Italian Institute for Statistics (ISTAT). Data from: Body mass index - regions and type of municipality. 2021.    


Italian Institute for Statistics (ISTAT). Data from: National Institute of Statistics, Italy [Istituto Nazionale di Statistica]. 2015. Rome, Italy.