Press Release: Counting the cost of diabetes on the island of Ireland - new report

9 Jul 2007

A new report published by the Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) and released on Monday 9 July 2007, predicts a 26% increase in diabetes in Northern Ireland and a 37% increase in the Republic over the ten year period (2005-2015).  The new report entitled, Making Diabetes Count: What does the future hold? is the second such report from the authors - The Irish Diabetes Prevalence Working Group.

Dr Kevin Balanda, Associate Director of the IPH, explained, "Taking into account population change and assuming the most realistic scenario that obesity rates will continue to rise in the same way it has over the last decade or so, the forecast is that the population prevalence of diabetes in adults in 2015 willl be 6.3% or 84,226 people in Northern Ireland and 5.6% or 193,944 people in the Republic.  This represents an increase of just over 17,100 in Northern Ireland and 52,800 adults for the Republic respectively between 2005 and 2015.  The vast majority of this increase is for Type 2 diabetes and it is clear to us from our research that an increase in obesity is the key driver of changes in the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in the adult population."

Some of the key recommendations contained in the report include:

  • A comprehensive All-Ireland system for monitoring the prevalence of overweight/obesity and factors which influence it should be established.
  • High quality diabetes registers should be urgently established and maintained on the island of Ireland, North and South, with a view to creating national and All-Ireland registers.
  • All-Ireland cross-sectoral population studies should undertaken to estimate: (1) The prevalence of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes amongst children (0-19years) (2) The prevalence of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes amongst adults (20+years)
  • Ethnicity should be included in any future census in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and methods explored to include ethnicity as a factor in population projections in both jurisdictions.
  • A systematic approach to the development and use of population prevalence estimates and forecasts, at national and sub-national level, should be developed on the island.  Further development of the PBS Model is recommended.
  • The study was carried out using a method called the PBS Model - developed by Yorkshire and Humber Public Health Observatory (YHPHO), Brent NHS Primary Care Trust, and University of Sheffield School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) - that was adapted to the island of Ireland by the Institute's all-Ireland population health observatory.