Leicester is to become the first city in the UK to take part in a global initiative against urban diabetes. It will join the likes of Copenhagen, Rome, Mexico City and Shanghai in becoming part of the Cities Changing Diabetes (CCD) programme, which seeks to address the alarming rise of type 2 diabetes in urban environments.
Globally, two-thirds of people with diabetes live in urban areas, which is likely down to a variety of environmental factors such as sedentary jobs and lifestyles, less green space and areas to exercise and more fast food available. For the UK, Leicester is the city with the highest rate of diabetes – 9% of its more than 320,000 residents have the condition, well above the national average of 6.4%.
Professor Kamlesh Khunti, Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester and Director at Leicester Diabetes Centre (LDC), said: ‘The launch of the Cities Changing Diabetes programme here in Leicester will be a major boost to help us drive positive environmental changes that could reduce the risk of developing type II diabetes, as well as ensure those with the condition have the right level of support and education to manage it properly.’
The ambitious programme seeks to prevent the rise of diabetes, aiming to maintain levels at around 1 in 10 UK adults who suffer the condition. This will require measures to combat obesity, which has recently hit a rate of 26% of the UK population.
In other cities, the CCD programme has employed innovative approaches such as community and urban planning changes, along with the provision of group ‘healthy cooking’ sessions and a door-to-door diabetes screening initiative.
Professor Davies CBE, Professor of Diabetes Medicine at the University of Leicester and Director at LDC said: ‘Cities Changing Diabetes is a once in a generation opportunity to address the complex challenge of type 2 diabetes. The programme will allow the city to work together and tackle important issues such as obesity and physical inactivity particularly in our young people.’