Diabetes has grave social and economic implications for individuals and society. It is a huge challenge both in the developed world and in developing countries.
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that 371 million people live with diabetes worldwide. This amounts to 8.3% of the world population.
In Europe, the number of people with diabetes currently stands at 55 million. Estimates indicate that an additional 21.2 million people are yet to be diagnosed.
The high number of undiagnosed diabetes cases means that millions of people are at risk of costly and debilitating diabetes complications, including nerve and kidney disease, blindness, amputation and stroke.
Along with the human suffering from these devastating complications comes an increasingly heavy economic burden. In 2012, 138.8 billion Euros were spent on diabetes in Europe.
Costs include those for healthcare as well as economic costs to the wider society in loss of productivity, early retirement and associated lost opportunities for economic development.
Diabetes is not just a Western problem; 80% of all diabetes-related deaths occur in low to middle income countries, so finding ways of providing affordable access to healthcare is critical.
The Diabetes Grand Tour was developed to demonstrate how exercise and diet can help people manage (and prevent) diabetes. The Tour was also developed to demonstrate how new technology solutions can help people to address the challenges we face with diabetes, collectively and individually.
We wanted an environment that would be physically challenging both for the participants and for the technologies. The Tour is designed to enable people with diabetes to participate, where appropriate use technology solutions, and show that it is possible to manage the condition in extreme circumstances.