Joined the programme in 2020

Strasbourg has joined the programme on November 13th, 2020. The initiative is the result of a collaboration between the Strasbourg municipality, Novo Nordisk France, local associations, the French Diabetes Federation, and the Food Banks national network.


In Strasbourg and its region, the prevalence of patients treated pharmacologically for diabetes is the second highest in France: 5.34% in Alsace compared to 4.67% at the national level. The Hauts-de-France region comes first, with a prevalence for diabetes of 5.61% in Nord- Pas-de-Calais. It is estimated that between 40,000 and 45,000 adults in the Grand Est region are unaware that they have diabetes. Diabetes-related mortality is higher than anywhere else in the territory (8% mortality). 

There are also warning signs among the youngest, since nearly 25% of Alsatian students in the 6th grade are overweight or obese. 

All the results come from the Grand Est 2018-2027 Regional Health Project (PRS) published in April 2017 and highlight the need to address the diabetes and obesity challenge in Strasbourg.

Indeed, Strasbourg is well equipped to bend to curve by investing in a pioneering program involving public and private, local and national players. As the European capital and winner of an open Call for Projects "Health Territories of Tomorrow", Strasbourg and its region have a very rich ecosystem of companies and associations promoting this type of initiatives. In addition, the presence in the city of the European Center for Diabetes Research (CeeD), which has been recognized from the start by the WHO and then by local and national authorities is an important added value to the project. 

Download Strasbourg fact sheet

Strasbourg will become the first French city to join the Cities Changing Diabetes programme. A broad coalition of stakeholders has come together to make Strasbourg the forefront of prevention targeting young people and vulnerable people living in precarity. Their actions will be deployed in Strasbourg from the end of 2020 and for a minimum of three years.

First of all, Cities Changing Diabetes will implement a prevention project targeting youngsters and schoolkids to prevent overweight, obesity and diabetes. Indeed, it is from the earliest age that social inequalities in health begin to appear. For this reason, the actions aim to raise children's and their parents’ awareness in the fields of health, food, and sustainability.  

In order to combine physical activity, food prevention, and the risks coming from unhealthy food, the project is articulated around the construction of two smart greenhouses installed in relevant places (schools, social-cultural centres or associations). Around these two greenhouses, a program of preventive health and adapted physical activities will be built by a local association (Siel Bleu).

The second pillar will focus on a prevention project for vulnerable individuals living in precarity, with the objective to prevent obesity and diabetes. This is why the project combines diabetes prevention and food education through the Food Banks network: cooking and health advice sessions will be held every month with the local Food Banks and the local Diabetes Association (AFD67). This project has given ideas to other municipalities in France and will be implemented in other areas. This collaboration will include the presence of a food truck travelling and meeting the recipients of food aid. In addition, training and prevention heath tools will be created. For instance, prevention support for people experiencing food insecurity will be rolled out. 

Finally, the third pillar programme will strengthen the knowledge on urban diabetes through a scientific study lead by a private sector partner and the European Center for the Diabetes Research (CeeD). The study will first enable to map the extent of the burden of diabetes by focusing on the health status of Strasbourg’s residents. Then the ambition will be to evaluate the intervention activities in two to three years’ time via an impact study.

“The Embassy of Denmark in France is glad to be a partner of the Cities Changing Diabetes programme which was initiated by Novo Nordisk six years ago. This partnership is built on our desire to strengthen the ties between France and Denmark, and more specifically to allow French and Danish stakeholders alike to share their public health experience. This programme, that unites private and public stakeholders around the Strasbourg municipality and Eurometropolis, is highly important to enable a fruitful collaboration on prevention.”

HE Sir Michael Starbæk Christensen, Ambassador of Denmark to France


“The Cities Changing Diabetes initiative is at the core of Novo Nordisk’s ambition to prevent diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular complications.

Strasbourg and its metropolis is a land of innovation and the ideal incubator where we can co-create innovative strategies in prevention. This public health endeavour is aligned with our staunch commitment to our actions with the Food Banks network and the French Diabetes Federation, to help vulnerable individuals gain access to nutritious foods. We stand before the urgency of addressing diabetes and other non-communicable diseases that plague our societies, and safeguard the health of present and future generations.”

— Étienne Tichit, General Manager and CVP, Novo Nordisk France