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Photograph: Photo by Victor, used under CC BY

The global number of diabetes cases has nearly quadrupled since 1980 as the prevalence of the lifestyle disease rose especially fast in low and middle-income countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday.

Some 422 million people lived with diabetes in 2014, compared to 108 million in 1980, the UN health agency reported one day before World Health Day, which is focused on fighting diabetes this year.

"This reflects an increase in associated risk factors such as being overweight or obese," WHO said in its first global report on this health problem.

Eighty per cent of the 1.5 million people who died from diabetes in 2012 lived in poor or middle-income countries.

However, few such countries have adequate diagnosis tools and diabetes management in their health-care facilities, according to WHO.

In addition, the price has been rising for the sugar regulation hormone insulin that is used to manage diabetes.

"From the analysis it is clear we need stronger responses not only from different sectors of government, but also from civil society and people with diabetes themselves, and also producers of food and manufacturers of medicines and medical technologies," WHO Director General Margaret Chan said.

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