AIM: We estimated the number of people worldwide with diabetes for the years 2010 and 2030. METHODS: Studies from 91 countries were used to calculate age- and sex-specific diabetes prevalences, which were applied to national population estimates, to determine national diabetes prevalences for all 216 countries for 2010 and 2030. Studies were identified using Medline, and contact with all national and regional International Diabetes Federation offices. Studies were included if diabetes prevalence was assessed using a population-based methodology, and was based on World Health Organization or American Diabetes Association diagnostic criteria for at least three separate age-groups within the 20-79 year range. Self-report or registry data were used if blood glucose assessment was not available. RESULTS: The world prevalence of diabetes among adults (aged 20-79 years) will be 6.4%, affecting 285 million adults, in 2010, and will increase to 7.7%, and 439 million adults by 2030. Between 2010 and 2030, there will be a 69% increase in numbers of adults with diabetes in developing countries and a 20% increase in developed countries. CONCLUSION: These predictions, based on a larger number of studies than previous estimates, indicate a growing burden of diabetes, particularly in developing countries.