Copenhagen joins ‘Cities Changing Diabetes’

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Copenhagen, Denmark, 22 August 2014 Today, the City of Copenhagen and Novo Nordisk announces an ambitious partnership to fight the diabetes challenge in Copenhagen. The partnership is a part of the global ‘Cities Changing Diabetes’ programme, which was initiated by Novo Nordisk and first launched in Mexico City on 28 March 2014.

The aim of the ‘Cities Changing Diabetes’ programme is to fight the rise of diabetes in the big cities across the world. Copenhagen is the second city to join the programme, soon to be joined by other cities in North America and Asia.

"Through this programme, the City of Copenhagen wants to take concrete action to increase health equality for its citizens," says Health Mayor Ninna Thomsen. Specifically, the City intends to strengthen diabetes prevention and improve the opportunities for people with diabetes to tackle their disease and lifestyle.

"The City of Copenhagen is proud to be a part of a global programme that will give access to detailed knowledge about the treatment of diabetes from other participating cities around the world," says Lord Mayor Frank Jensen. "I am convinced that ‘Cities Changing Diabetes’ will be a catalyst to learning a lot about diabetes in an urban context, while at the same time other cities will be able to learn from our experiences."

Commenting on the partnership, Lars Rebien Sørensen, chief executive officer, Novo Nordisk, says: "On a global level we know that two in three of all people with diabetes live in cities. With ‘Cities Changing Diabetes’ we hope to get cities around the world to work together to find sustainable solutions to the urban diabetes challenge. We are very pleased that Copenhagen has decided to join. In Denmark, around 89% of people with diabetes live in cities, so we hope that the solutions we find in Copenhagen can also inspire other cities in Denmark."

Other partners in Denmark besides the City of Copenhagen are the University of Copenhagen, the Danish Diabetes Association and Steno Diabetes Center.

Diabetes and social inequality in Copenhagen

Today Copenhagen has approximately 570,000 inhabitants. That number is expected to increase to 720,000 by 2030, corresponding to approximately 9,000 new citizens in Copenhagen every year.

Diabetes is the only major chronic disease that is increasing in prevalence in Copenhagen. During the period 2007–2011, the number of new cases of diabetes per 1,000 inhabitants increased from 2.9 to 3.7 per year. According to the latest estimates, around 21,000 people are living with diabetes in Copenhagen. In other words, four out of a hundred Copenhageners have diabetes.

That number covers large differences between different areas of the city, however; for example, the prevalence in the city centre is only 2.5%, while in the suburban district of Brønshøj–Husum it is 7.4%. Similarly there is a difference in average life expectancy of up to seven years, from 80 years in the city centre to 73 years in the Nørrebro district.

The launch event for the ’Cities Changing Diabetes’ programme in Copenhagen will take place today in the Copenhagen Town Hall at 12.30 CEST.

About ‘Cities Changing Diabetes’

‘Cities Changing Diabetes’ is an ambitious partnership programme to fight the urban diabetes challenge. By 2035, it is estimated that more than half a billion people will have diabetes. Today, nearly two-thirds of all people with diabetes live in cities, and people who move to cities have a significantly higher risk of developing diabetes than those who remain in rural settings.

The aim of ‘Cities Changing Diabetes’ is to map the problem, share solutions and drive concrete action to fight the diabetes challenge in selected focus cities across the world. University College London (UCL) is a global academic partner for the programme.

Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with more than 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. The company also has leading positions within haemophilia care, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy. Novo Nordisk employs approximately 40,700 employees in 75 countries, and markets its products in more than 180 countries. For more information, visit

Further information

Trine Maria Ilsøe, press manager, City of Copenhagen, +45 3012 2276

Katrine Sperling, press manager, Novo Nordisk, +45 3079 6718


1. Statistics Denmark, 2014

2. Diderichsen, F et al: Folkesundheden i København 2014 - Report. City of Copenhagen

3. Hammer-Helmich, L et al: Sundhedsprofil for region og kommuner 2010, Forskningscenter for Forebyggelse og Sundhed, Region Hovedstaden; 2010

4. Diderichsen, F et al: Folkesundheden i København 2014 - Report. City of Copenhagen.
Initiatives for better prevention and treatment have, however, reduced the excess mortality among people with diabetes from 76% in 2001 to 54% in 2011.

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