There are many reasons why chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and obesity have been on the rise for decades. Some are due to risk factors that are not preventable, such as genetic factors and the simple fact that humans are living longer.

Doing nothing to stop this rise will only lead to more human suffering and more healthcare spending. Our customers are healthcare systems and the people using our treatments. If we do nothing to prevent chronic diseases, we are not living up to our values as a company, nor are we driving a sustainable business.

But there are areas where preventive actions can have a positive effect. Increasing urbanisation, socioeconomic inequalities, less active lifestyles and poorer diets. In combination, increasing urbanisation, socioeconomic inequalities, less active lifestyles and poorer diets are often the main reasons why more and more people are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and obesity.

We want to bend the curve on the rise of type 2 diabetes and obesity. There is no doubt prevention is key.

Keep reading and see how we work with chronic disease prevention.

At a grocery market in Rome

As part of our efforts to find, pilot and scale solutions to prevent diabetes and obesity, we invited communities, start-ups, businesses, NGOs and grassroot organisations, educational institutions, public agencies and more to submit proposals through a series of open innovation challenges.

The Healthy Food Challenge, focused on preventing obesity through solutions that advance healthy and sustainable food environments among vulnerable people. 

Click here to learn more 


Our Healthy Childhood Challenge, was a global call for ideas which support and promote healthier environments, launched by Novo Nordisk in collaboration with UNICEF. 

Click here to learn more

Two out of three people living with type 2 diabetes reside in cities. The way urban areas are designed, built and run is changing the way we live and, in some cases, increasing our vulnerability to type 2 diabetes. 

We coined the term ‘urban diabetes’ as a way to focus on the risk factor inherent in cities, and launched a global public-private partnership called Cities Changing Diabetes.

In more than 40 cities around the world, we are drawing attention to type 2 diabetes as a crucial health issue in cities. We are working with more than 150 partners to improve research and inform policies to design interventions that deliver meaningful impact on the frontline of the disease.

To learn more about our fight against urban diabetes, go to Cities Changing Diabetes.

Globally, around 40 million children under the age of five are overweight. This puts them at risk of developing early onset of type 2 diabetes, and is a strong predictor of adult obesity. 

These children may also face challenges in thriving and reaching their full potential. Being overweight can contribute to stigmatisation, poor socialisation and emotional difficulties, and in some cases reduced educational attainment.

Since 2019, Novo Nordisk and UNICEF have partnered to prevent childhood overweight and obesity across the world. In 2023, Novo Nordisk and UNICEF announced a three-year extension of the partnership.

The partnership goal is to contribute to the prevention of childhood overweight and obesity by building healthy environments that enable and empower children to eat well and be active. A key focus of the partnership is to advocate for systemic changes to shift the focus on childhood overweight and obesity away from individual behavior and towards enabling environments and society.

Visit our partnership page to learn more