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New insights on diabetes mellitus and obesity in Africa–Part 1: prevalence, pathogenesis and comorbidities
  1. Andre Pascal Kengne1,2,3,
  2. Justin-Basile Echouffo-Tcheugui4,
  3. Eugene Sobngwi5,6,
  4. Jean-Claude Mbanya5,7
  1. 1Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town and South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa
  2. 2The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, Australia
  3. 3Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  4. 4Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  5. 5Yaounde Central Hospital and Department of Internal Medicine and Specialties, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, National Obesity Centre, University of Yaoundé 1, Yaoundé, Cameroon
  6. 6Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK
  7. 7University of Technology, Kingston, Jamaica
  1. Correspondence to Dr Andre Pascal Kengne, National Collaborative Programme on Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease, South African Medical Research Council, PO Box 19070 Tygerberg, Cape Town 7505, South Africa; andre.kengne{at}


Evidence continues to accumulate on the rising burden of diabetes mellitus at a higher pace in Africa. In a series of two papers, we sought to summarise recent evidence on diabetes and obesity in Africa based on a systematic review of studies published between January 2002 and October 2012. This first paper on the prevalence, pathogenesis and comorbidities shows that the increase in diabetes prevalence has paralleled that of obesity in Africa. Recent surveys on diabetes and obesity have been largely suboptimal. Hence, the need for more representative and robust continent-wide prevalence figures, which may be somehow achieved through pooling of existing data. Prospective studies linking environmental risk factors to disease occurrence and outcomes remain scarce, and genetic factors for diabetes or obesity have not been extensively assessed. The health consequences of diabetes are manifold, and include a complex interaction with other conditions like HIV infection and sickle cell disease/trait.

  • Metabolic medicine

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