Who is at risk for diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes2

The number of people who develop type 1 diabetes is increasing. The reasons for this are still unclear, but this 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 diabetes2

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

  • excess body weight
  • physical inactivity
  • aging
  • prediabetes
  • poor nutrition, including high intake of sugar‐sweetened drinks
  • ethnicity
  • family history of diabetes
  • history of gestational diabetes

The number of people with type 2 diabetes is growing rapidly worldwide. This rise is in part related to aging populations, economic development and increasing urbanization which can lead to less healthy eating and decreased physical activity.


2 IDF Diabetes Atlas (8th Ed.) (2017). International Diabetes Federation: Brussels, Belgium. Online version accessed May. 5, 2018