Joined the programme in 2019

Seoul is an Asian megacity with a 9.9 million inhabitants. As the capital of the Republic of Korea, Seoul has grown to be one of the most economically powerful cities in the world. The city joined Cities Changing Diabetes in 2019.

Seoul, South Korea downtown cityscape from above at dusk.

Korea is a highly urbanised society, and already today, 81% of people with diabetes live in urban areas. Like other countries in East Asia, Korea is facing future challenges managing care for an aging population. In 2050 an estimated 38.2 % of the population will be above the age of 65.

Today, 5 million people (>30 years of age) in Koreas are estimated to live with diabetes, and 38.1% of them are unaware of their condition.1 25% of adults in Korea are estimated to live with prediabetes.

Key facts and figures


of people with diabetes live in urban areas.


the share of population who will be above age 65 by 2050.


people live with diabetes.


are unaware of their condition.

The Cities Changing Diabetes partnership in Seoul consists of representatives from the city of Seoul, academic societies, including the Korean Diabetes Association (KDA), Korean Study of Obesity (KSSO), International Diabetes Federation (IDF), IDF West Pacific branch and the Embassy of Denmark in Korea.

The head of each organisation in the partnership has appointed a representative from their organisation to the action committee of Seoul Cities Changing Diabetes programme. The city has conducted the first phase of the research with the purpose of gaining a better understanding of the social and cultural dynamics of the city and build an evidence-based action plan.

" This is a first step in fighting type 2 diabetes, and with this kind of activity every person has to get some idea about the vulnerability of type 2 diabetes in Korea. Asia has two thirds of people with diabetes in the world, and Asia is the epicentre of diabetes nowadays, so we need our own programme for prevention and fighting diabetes."

— Professor Kunho Yoon The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital CCD Ambassador of Korea


International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 8 edn. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2017.