Changes in human behaviour and lifestyle over the last century have resulted in a dramatic increase in the incidence of diabetes worldwide. The epidemic is chiefly of type 2 diabetes and also the associated conditions known as 'diabesity' and 'metabolic syndrome'. In conjunction with genetic susceptibility, particularly in certain ethnic groups, type 2 diabetes is brought on by environmental and behavioural factors such as a sedentary lifestyle, overly rich nutrition and obesity. The prevention of diabetes and control of its micro- and macrovascular complications will require an integrated, international approach if we are to see significant reduction in the huge premature morbidity and mortality it causes.
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