By Andy Sambidge
New data from the International Diabetes Federation reveals gloomy outlook for region
The number of people suffering with diabetes in the Middle East and North Africa is expected to double in less than 20 years, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has said.
Data from its global study indicates that the number of people living with diabetes is expected to rise from 366 million in 2011 to 552 million by 2030.
In the Middle East and North Africa Region, 32.6 million or 9.1 percent of the population now have diabetes, the IDF said.
It added that this number is expected to double, with estimates that there are as many as 19.2 million people still undiagnosed.
The new regional figures also show that the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the region for younger age groups is substantially higher than the global average.
The IDF said that by 2030, 11 percent of the Middle East and North Africa region or 59.7 million people will be living with diabetes.
It added that six out of the world's top ten countries with the highest prevalence of diabetes are in the region.
Dr Amir-Kamran Nikousokhan Tayar, chair of IDF's Middle East and North Africa region said: "It is now more vital than ever that we adopt a multi-sectoral approach to tackling diabetes.
"We need to encourage governments in our countries to take a 'Health in All Policies' approach and encourage people, in particular parents, to educate themselves on the risks associated with diabetes and to know the signs."
The IDF said its commitment to curbing the diabetes epidemic in the Middle East can be seen in their choice to hold the biennial World Diabetes Congress in Dubai from December 4-8.For all the latest health tips & news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.