What is the challenge?

Type 2 diabetes is a major public health concern that has reached epidemic proportions worldwide. The number of people with type 2 diabetes is continuing to increase rapidly and, according to the World Health Organization, prevalence has almost doubled over the past 40 years. The rise of chronic non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes reflect lifestyle and diet, as well as ageing, and is often closely related to the increasing prevalence of obesity.

Across Europe the number of individuals over 65 years of age is expected to rise by 45% to 123 million in 2030*. Demographic trends mean that across Europe the proportion of workers supporting those in retirement will halve from an average of four today, to just two, in 2060**. According to a World Health Organization report on Global Health and Ageing, by 2020 the number of people aged 65 or older will outnumber children under age 5.

Ageing in Europe


The economic and societal costs of non-communicable diseases rise steeply with age, with a consequential impact on European and wider global economies. The resulting increase on healthcare expenditure due to the escalating prevalence of non-communicable diseases therefore necessitates the development of strategies to improve and promote the health and wellbeing of people in later life and address the impending economic burden through the judicious allocation of healthcare resources.

Healthcare Expenditure in Europe***

Diabetes represents 12% of global healthcare expenditure.

*The European Commission (2011). 
**The 2015 Ageing Report: Economic and budgetary projections for the 28 EU Member States (2013-2060).
***IDF Atlas Seventh Edition