Joined the programme in 2014

One of the world’s fastest growing urban area1, Shanghai has also seen a demographic transition with life expectancy more than doubling since 19492. Consistent with the profile of an ageing population, disease patterns have shifted from infection diseases and infant health problems to NCDs such as diabetes.

Reducing obesity: an opportunity for change in Shanghai
Without action, the increase of adult obesity in Shanghai 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%, Shanghai would see 800,000 fewer cases of type 2 diabetes and save 353 million dollars in healthcare expenditure by 2045.3

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Key facts and figures


adults had obesity in Shanshai in 2013.4


of schools-going children had obesity in Shanghai in 2014.5

Cities Changing Diabetes research from 2015 in Shanghai revealed a high prevalence of diabetes along with sociocultural vulnerabilities, including how diabetes impacts families. The research also indicated that one-third of people with diabetes are undiagnosed. The government is therefore supporting a three-year Diabetes Intervention Programme focused on strengthening diabetes care through the city’s health system.


" The dynamics driving diabetes in Shanghai are complex: growing wealth, changing lifestyles and an ageing population, alongside a rising number of younger people getting the disease. Also, fast-paced working lives can stand in the way of diabetes management. Through in-depth learning and connecting our knowledge, Cities Changing Diabetes can help us to improve even further the effectiveness of taking on diabetes in our city."

— Professor Jia Weiping, Shanghai Institute of Diabetes Director

Download Shanghai's case study


United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2018). World Urbanization Prospects: The 2018 Revision.


China Daily: Life expectancy in Shanghai tops 83 years. 2017; Accessed August, 2017. 


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



Wu J, Xu H, He X, et al. Six-year changes in the prevalence of obesity and obesity-related diseases in Northeastern China from 2007 to 2013. Scientific Reports. 2017;7:41518. 


Martinson ML, Chang Y-L, Han W-J, Wen J. Child Overweight and Obesity in Shanghai, China: Contextualizing Chinese Socioeconomic and Gender Differences. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. 2018;25(1):141–149.