Diabetes isn't just a problem in the U.S.--about 366 million people worldwide have the disease, says the International Diabetes Federation.
In addition, 4.6 million deaths are attributed to diabetes, and healthcare spending has grown to a staggering $465 billion.
The figures were released Tuesday in Lisbon, Portugal, at a meeting of the Assn. for the Study of Diabetes, in advance of the United Nations Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases Monday and Tuesday in New York. The IDF, an umbrella group of more than 200 national diabetes associations in over 160 countries, will release its Global Diabetes plan this weekend, outlining steps to combat the diabetes epidemic. The entire Diabetes Atlas, which includes breakdowns by region, will be available in November.
"IDF's latest atlas data are proof indeed that diabetes is a massive challenge the world can no longer afford to ignore," said IDF President Jean Claude Mbanya in a news release. Mbanya, professor of medicine and endocrinology at the University of Yaounde I in Cameroon, added: "In 2011, one person is dying from diabetes every seven seconds. The clock is ticking for the world's leaders -- we expect action from their high-level meeting next week at the United Nations that will halt diabetes' relentlessly upwards trajectory."