Cities can change Diabetes

Today, not enough is known about the dynamics of how urban development can drive diabetes, or how it can deliver potential health benefits to city living.

To address this, in 2014 the Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen, University College London, and Novo Nordisk launched Cities Changing Diabetes. The programme is designed to address the social and cultural factors that can increase type 2 diabetes vulnerability among certain people living in urban environments. Today, the programme has established local partnerships in more than 30 cities around the world, reaching more than 150 million individuals, to help prevent and control urban diabetes.

The Cities Changing Diabetes programme is built on three interconnected elements: Map, Share, and Act. The programme enables cities to understand their own urban diabetes challenge, to set goals for halting the rise of type 2 diabetes in their city, and to work across sectors and disciplines to unite stakeholders behind a common cause.

Through the programme, partner cities get a global overview of the challenges associated with urban diabetes and have access to key insights and learnings from solutions that are being driven around the world.

The Cities Changing Diabetes Briefing Books, the Urban Diabetes Toolbox, and the upcoming Urban Diabetes Action Framework are effective engagement tools that provide decision-makers and city practitioners with a common understanding of the severity of urban diabetes and how to take action to halt its rise.

The Urban Diabetes Action Framework is the latest addition to the resources offered by the Cities Changing Diabetes programme. It is an interactive guide that helps drive impactful interventions on urban diabetes and obesity. It offers step-by-step guidance, simple tools to help on the journey, and best practise cases to draw inspiration from.


Healthusiasm >> There are so many great aspects of this example. First, it looks for the source of the diabetes problem: that is the people themselves. How can you reach them better than where they are, namely in cities. It is also an excellent example of how cities are increasingly coming to the forefront regarding health (prevention). It is common to say that prevention can only be adequately monitored at a national level because there is an incentive to spend less on health care. But cities are increasingly starting to set up independent initiatives for the well-being and health of people. Finally, it is also an exciting example of how pharma can still 'appeal' to people/patients and set up prevention and education initiatives. As I point out in every keynote, "There is absolutely no reason not to speak to patients. If it contributes to general health, no one can argue with it. It's just a matter of being consistent and ethical."

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