Driven by the rise in obesity rates, diabetes has become one of the most important public health challenges of the 21st century. Over 150 million adults are affected worldwide, with the number expected to double in the next 25 years (King et al.,
1998; IDF, 2006). Across OECD countries, prevalence is estimated to be more than 6% of the population aged 20‐79 years in 2010 and ranges from less than 5% in Iceland, Norway and the United Kingdom to more than 10% in Mexico and
the United States, (see Indicator 1.12 "Diabetes prevalence and incidence"). Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in industrialised countries and the most common cause of end‐stage renal disease in the United States, Europe,
and Japan. Individuals with type II diabetes have a two‐to‐four times greater risk of cardiovascular disease (Haffner, 2000).