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.

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.

Among Korean adults aged 30 years or older, the estimated prevalence of diabetes was 16.7%.1 Of those living with diabetes, 34.2% are unaware that they have the condition, increasing the likelihood that their diabetes will go unmanaged and develop diabetes-related complications.1

Key facts and figures



of Korean adults (aged 30 years or older) are living with diabetes1



the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in Korean children, adolescents increased 4.43 times.2



of Korean adults (aged 30 years or older) are living with obesity1




of children aged 6–18 years are living with obesity3



people living with diabetes reach treatment targets1

The Cities Changing Diabetes partnership in Seoul consists of representatives from the city of Seoul, the Korean Diabetes Association (KDA) and the Embassy of Denmark in Korea.

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. As part of this work, Professor Kun-Ho Yoon, who leads Seoul's Cities Changing Diabetes team, conducted a Rule of Halves analysis.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has limited the programme's ability to carry out research and engage potential stakeholders, Cities Changing Diabetes in Seoul managed to host two international webinars during this period. These webinars were supported by the Danish Embassy in Korea and included speakers from the Korean Diabetes Association, University College London and the Copenhagen Center for Diabetes.

The first webinar was held in November 2020 and examined how cities in the Cities Changing Diabetes network have worked together and shared their initiatives. The second webinar centred on the theme of diabetes and health inequalities in cities and was streamed in December 2021.

Moving forward, Cities Changing Diabetes in Seoul will conduct a qualitative Diabetes Vulnerability Assessment to determine the city's underlying socio-cultural drivers of type 2 diabetes.  

" Through the Cities Changing Diabetes (CCD) program, we are taking on a new challenge to find the complex causes and solutions to diabetes problems in Seoul. Like so many urban areas around the world, Seoul has many urban problems and vulnerabilities related to diabetes epidemic. We will continue to work to reduce diabetes prevalence and improve diabetes management by continuing to strengthen solidarity and work with our CCD partners. Also, we are looking forward to conducting new research to deliver diabetes prevention and treatment soon."

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


Bae JH, Han KD, Ko SH, et al. Diabetes Fact Sheet in Korea 2021. Diabetes Metab J. May 2022;46(3):417-426. doi:10.4093/dmj.2022.0106


Prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus among Korean Children, Adolescents, and Adults Younger than 30 Years: Changes from 2002 to 2016 by Yong Hee Hong, In-Hyuk Chung, Kyungdo Han, Sochung Chung


Secular Trends in Pediatric Overweight and Obesity in Korea by JaeHyun Kim and Jing Soo Moon