Urban diabetes: the case of the metropolitan area of Rome the fight against urban diabetes

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Antonio Nicolucci
Maria Chiara Rossi
Ketty Vaccaro
Roberta Crialesi
Stefania Rossetti
Stefano da Empoli
Lucio Corsaro
Lelio Morviducci
Marco G. Baroni
Simona Frontoni
Francesco Dotta


urban diabetes, social determinants, obesity, lifestyle, vulnerability


Background: The world is rapidly urbanizing, causing alarming health problems to their citizens. The Cities Changing Diabetes program aims to address the social factors and cultural determinants that can increase type 2 diabetes (T2D) vulnerability among people living in cities. Methods: Public data of Italian Institute for Statistics (ISTAT) and available scientific reports were reviewed and findings integrated. The prevalence of T2D in the 8 health districts of Rome was mapped and the correlation between prevalence and social and cultural determinants was assessed. Results: The metropolitan area of Rome has 4.3 million inhabitants. People over 65 has increased by 136,000 units in the last decade, reaching 631,000 citizens in 2015. Elderly people living alone are 28.4%. The obesity prevalence is 9.3%, as compared to 8.2% in the year 2000. The prevalence of T2D is 6.6%, varying in the different 8 health districts between 5.9% and 7.3%. A linear correlation exists between the prevalence of diabetes in the districts, unemployment rate and use of private transportation rate (Pearson R 0.52 and 0.60, respectively), while an inverse correlation is present with aging index, school education level, and slow mobility rate (Person R -0.57, -0.52, and -0.52, respectively). Conclusions: Important socio-demographic changes have occurred in Rome during the last decades with a raise in the prevalence of obesity and diabetes. A wide variation exists in the prevalence of T2D among the districts of Rome, associated with social and cultural determinants. This study model can help rethinking diabetes in an urban setting.

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