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Diabetes, a global health concern, has reached alarming levels in Pakistan, earning the country the unfortunate distinction of being ranked number one in the world for diabetes prevalence. This escalating epidemic poses significant challenges to public health, necessitating a comprehensive understanding of the factors contributing to its prevalence and the implementation of effective strategies to address this pressing issue. Diabetes is on the rise globally, affecting individuals with both type 1 and potentially dangerous type 2 diabetes. However, Pakistan stands out with the unfortunate distinction of having the highest number of diabetes patients in the world.

Prevalence of diabetes in Pakistan

As reported by the World of Statistics, an organization backed by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Georgia State University, Pakistan exhibits an alarming diabetes prevalence rate of 30.8 percent. Covering data from 38 countries, this all-encompassing study ranked Pakistan at the forefront, with Kuwait following closely with a diabetes incidence of 24.9%, and Egypt securing the third position with a diabetes incidence of 20.9%. Remarkably, this densely populated South Asian nation also registers the highest percentage of individuals under the age of 60 succumbing to chronic medical conditions.

Surprisingly, more than a quarter of adults in Pakistan with diabetes are undiagnosed, underscoring the urgency for increased funding and concerted efforts to combat the disease. Health experts are advocating for a heightened focus on early detection and intervention to curb the alarming prevalence of diabetes in the country.

The Diabetes Landscape in Pakistan:

Pakistan’s rise to the top of the diabetes prevalence chart is a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Recent statistics indicate that a significant segment of the population, spanning from children to adults, is contending with this chronic condition. Urbanization, sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy dietary habits, and genetic predispositions are among the key contributors to the surge in diabetes cases.

Report says 38 million more adults are now estimated to be living with diabetes globally. — Shutterstock/File

Unpacking the Factors:

1. Urbanization and Lifestyle Changes:

As Pakistan undergoes rapid urbanization, there has been a noticeable shift in lifestyle patterns. Increased reliance on sedentary occupations, limited physical activity, and the prevalence of unhealthy diets high in sugars and fats contribute significantly to the diabetes epidemic.

2. Genetic Predisposition:

Genetic factors play a crucial role in diabetes susceptibility. Pakistanis, particularly those with a family history of diabetes, are at an elevated risk. Understanding and addressing genetic predispositions are essential components of a comprehensive strategy to tackle the diabetes epidemic.

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3. Limited Awareness and Education:

Insufficient awareness about diabetes prevention and management compounds the issue. Many individuals may not recognize the early signs of diabetes, leading to delayed diagnosis and treatment. Educational campaigns that focus on raising awareness about risk factors, symptoms, and lifestyle modifications are imperative.

Strategies for Diabetes Prevention and Management:

1. Promoting Healthy Lifestyles:

Encouraging regular physical activity and adopting a balanced, nutritious diet are pivotal in preventing diabetes. Public health initiatives should aim to make healthy choices more accessible and affordable for all segments of the population.

2. Community-Based Healthcare Programs:

Establishing community-based healthcare programs can enhance early detection and management of diabetes. These programs can include regular health check-ups, screenings, and educational workshops within local communities.

3. Governmental Policies and Regulations:

The government plays a crucial role in addressing the diabetes epidemic. Implementing policies that promote healthier food options, regulate advertising of sugary products, and encourage physical activity can significantly impact diabetes prevention.

4. Empowering Healthcare Professionals:

Strengthening the healthcare system by providing training and resources for healthcare professionals is essential. This includes ensuring access to diabetes education and specialized care, especially in remote areas.


While Pakistan grapples with the unfortunate distinction of being ranked number one in diabetes prevalence, there is hope for change. A multifaceted approach that addresses lifestyle factors, genetics, awareness, and healthcare infrastructure is crucial. Through concerted efforts from individuals, communities, and the government, Pakistan can work towards mitigating the impact of diabetes and fostering a healthier future for its citizens.


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