What is Cities Changing Diabetes?

The Cities Changing Diabetes programme was developed to get cities worldwide to set goals and design interventions to drive down the number of people with type 2 diabetes in their city. Meeting these goals requires working together across sectors and disciplines, uniting stakeholders behind a common cause.

The world is rapidly urbanising, changing not just where we live, but the way we live. Today, the way cities are designed, built and run risks fuelling the health challenges of their citizens.

Urban environments are already home to two-thirds of people with diabetes. This makes cities the front line in the fight against type 2 diabetes – and where we must take action to hold back the alarming rise of the condition. 

Since the programme was launched in 2014, a total of 22 cities worldwide – including Leicester – have joined in a bid to tackle the increased risk of type 2 diabetes among certain people who live in cities.


Over 415 million people worldwide live with diabetes

By 2040 more than 640 million people worldwide will live with diabetes

22 cities worldwide have joined the programme

More than 100 cross–disciplinary, cross–sector partners

Over 415 million people worldwide live with diabetes. In fact, two thirds of these people live in our cities, showing a marked increase in the rate of urban diabetes. The number of people with diabetes is set to rise to more than 640 million by 2040.

In response to the unsustainable increase of type 2 diabetes, Novo Nordisk, Steno Diabetes Centre and University College London launched the Cities Changing Diabetes. Due to the size and scale of the problem, it has been acknowledged that no single organisation or company can tackle the challenge of reducing the prevalence of urban diabetes alone; therefore the Cities Changing Diabetes programme is built on a model of creating partnerships between city leaders and urban planners, academics, community leaders, healthcare professionals, commissioners and businesses.

In 2014, three global partners, Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen, University College London and Novo Nordisk, launched the Cities Changing Diabetes programme to accelerate the global fight against urban diabetes.

Today, the programme has established local partnerships in 22 cities worldwide to address the social factors and cultural determinants that can increase type 2 diabetes vulnerability among certain people living in cities.

Each city is contributing through its partnerships to establish a new knowledge base of the social issues and cultural factors which make some people vulnerable to the development of the condition and its complications in their city.

The work in the study cities will act as a platform for the programme to grow globally. It will provide a basis for connecting and understanding the challenge of urban diabetes, and for enabling and inspiring many more cities to join in the global fight.