Lifestyle Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes in EU Countries

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic non-communicable disease often closely associated with genetic and environmental risk factors.

Today, it’s known to have a very big global impact because of its high prevalence, continuous growth, and its link with other chronic diseases, such as heart disease.

High calorie and low fiber intake are known to be an important risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes.

This often leads to an accumulation of abdominal fat, stored around important internal organs, resulting in increased abdominal circumference and increased BMI.

Another big risk factor is leading a sedentary lifestyle with little to no physical activity.

Research has shown that even mild exercise (eg. light walking for 30min/day) can reduce the risk of developing diabetes, while a sedentary lifestyle may double it. [1]

Given that prevention is the key, it’s very important to promote healthier lifestyles and inform the public of the risks involving diabetes.

A recently published scientific paper on the prevalence of diabetes in European countries has summarized the results of previous research and assessed the main risk factors.

Let’s see what they found.

The Details

This paper included findings regarding the distribution percentage of some lifestyle risk factors for type 2 diabetes for 28 European countries.

Here are the highlights of what they discovered:

  • 50% of European countries show type 2 diabetes prevalence in the range between 8-9%, with the highest percentage registered in Bulgaria, Malta, and Hungary;
  • 21 of these countries demonstrate a high prevalence of obesity;
  • 7% of them have an obesity prevalence rate of 25%;
  • Malta had the highest score for physical inactivity;
  • Obesity and being overweight were very closely associated with physical inactivity;
  • Physical inactivity scores, in general, were higher for females than males.
  • In Conclusion

    Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases worldwide with a high prevalence rate.

    The results of this research not only highlight the differences between the different countries, but they also indicate that diabetes is very widespread.

    Resource: Altobelli, E.; Angeletti, P.M.; Profeta, V.F.; Petrocelli, R. Lifestyle Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and National Diabetes Care Systems in European Countries. Nutrients 2020, 12, 2806. doi: 



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