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The launch of the 1st edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas in 2000 (at the IDF Congress in Mexico City) was an exciting event. Nothing like that had been produced before in the diabetes world. Maria de Alva, IDF President since 1997, wrote in her Foreword to the 1st edition: “Just as an atlas maps the world, so we can find the roads in which to travel, the mountains to climb and the oceans to cross, Diabetes Atlas 2000 maps the world of diabetes.”

For me, that still sums up the rationale of the Atlas. However, since 2000, a number of new roads have opened up. Most of the mountains and oceans are still there but some of them seem less daunting and unscalable and more likely to be sailed safely than they were then. The last eight editions of the Atlas have certainly played their part in bringing the global diabetes picture more sharply into focus. The 9th edition will continue to do so.

I was lucky enough to have contributed to the 1st edition and the two that followed. Then, in 2017, I was asked by the current IDF President to follow in his footsteps and take on the chairmanship of a committee of scientific experts to assemble the content of the 9th edition. It was a daunting prospect but one which appealed to my long-standing interest in the global epidemiology of diabetes. I also had the knowledge that the IDF Diabetes Atlas is such a powerful agent for knowledge dissemination and potential change, and having for some time known and worked with a host of marvelous people in all the seven IDF Regions and in the IDF Executive Office, I knew they would be keen to join me and put their all into producing yet another outstanding publication.

The IDF Diabetes Atlas 9th edition will be launched on World Diabetes Day, 14th November, this year. A hard copy version, available in English, French and Spanish, will feature prominently at the IDF Congress 2019 in Busan, Republic of Korea, in early December.

The 9th edition has a number of novel additions ... the troubling emergence of type 2 diabetes in children and young people and the impact of childhood diabetes on acute and long-term complications.

A new IDF Diabetes Atlas website will “go live” on 14 November, in English initially with French and Spanish versions to follow hot on its heels. Also available will be IDF regional fact-sheets – one for each of the seven Regions – and an Advocacy Guide. The latter is a practical tool to facilitate advocacy by individuals and organisations “on the ground”, providing key statistics and convincing arguments to stimulate governments and the private sector to take action for the prompt and accurate diagnosis of diabetes, improve care for all people with diabetes and stimulate more comprehensive prevention of type 2 diabetes. This Guide will be made available in all six UN languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish), as well as Korean.

Along with tried and tested topics – diabetes prevalence estimates and projections (this time to 2030 and 2045), diabetes mortality estimates, the importance of hyperglycaemia in pregnancy, the importance of complications, the economic impact of diabetes, prospects for prevention etc. etc. – the 9th edition has a number of novel additions. These include the more prominent recognition of the troubling emergence of type 2 diabetes in children and young people and the impact of childhood diabetes on acute and long-term complications.

Estimates of the incidence of diabetes are also included for the first time, recognising that, given increased longevity of people with diabetes, influences on prevalence are complex and the global impact of diabetes is best assessed using incidence as well as prevalence. A new section describes the complex inter-relationship between body mass index, diabetes and cancer and the aspiration to prevent or delay the type 1 diabetes process is mentioned in the same chapter as that dealing with the prevention of type 2.

The IDF Diabetes Atlas is constantly evolving and we are already thinking through ideas and possible topics for the 10th edition. However, before that continues, there will be a concerted effort to evaluate the process and outcome of the work involved in the 9th. We are constantly learning about the ways in which information on the global challenge of diabetes can be assembled and presented and used to improve the lives of people with and at risk of developing diabetes wherever they may live.

 

Prof. Rhys Williams is Chair of the IDF Diabetes Atlas Committee, 9th Edition


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