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Who is at risk for diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes

The number of people who develop type 1 diabetes is increasing. The reasons for this are still unclear, but may be due to changes in environmental risk factors and/or viral infections. The disease can affect people of any age, but it usually starts in children or young adults.

Type 2 diabetes

Although the exact causes for the development of type 2 diabetes are still unknown, there are several important risk factors:

  • excess body weight
  • physical inactivity
  • advancing age
  • poor nutrition
  • ethnicity
  • family history of diabetes
  • history of gestational diabetes (diabetes that developed during pregnancy).

The number of people with type 2 diabetes is growing rapidly worldwide. This rise is associated with aging populations, economic development, increasing urbanization, less healthy diets and reduced physical activity.*

*IDF Diabetes Atlas (7th Ed.) (2015). Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation.