Leicester is to become the first UK city to join the global initiative, Cities Changing Diabetes, tackling urban diabetes.

It joins the likes of Copenhagen, Mexico City, Rome and Shanghai in becoming part of the programme to tackle the dramatic rise of type 2 diabetes in urban areas.

Leicester is home to one of the largest populations of people with diabetes – almost 9% of its residents – well above the national average of 6.4%.

Professor Kamlesh Khunti, Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester and Director at Leicester Diabetes Centre (LDC), commented: “Type 2 diabetes represents a significant challenge, especially in our multi-ethnic city, but a challenge we are committed to meeting.

"The launch of the Cities Changing Diabetes programme here in Leicester will be a major boost to help us drive positive environmental changes that could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as well as ensure those with the condition have the right level of support and education to manage it properly.”

Launched in 2014, Cities Changing Diabetes is a partnership programme initiated by Novo Nordisk, University College London and Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen to innovate new approaches to the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes.

Examples of community, urban planning and health promotion activities pioneered by programme partners include:
· Group ‘healthy cooking’ sessions among middle-aged men in Copenhagen
· The creation of a ‘Rome Passport’ to map walking and running routes through the city
· A door-to-door doctor and diabetes screening service in Mexico City.

Professor Melanie Davies CBE, Professor of Diabetes Medicine at the University of Leicester and Director at LDC said: “Cities Changing Diabetes is a once in a generation opportunity to address the complex challenge of type 2 diabetes. The programme will allow the city to work together and tackle important issues such as obesity and physical inactivity particularly in our young people.”

“If our football club Leicester City can win the Premier League, then we can work towards a city with reduced levels of type 2 diabetes as well as ensuring those with the condition have the right level of support and education to manage it properly.”

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