The French are known for their food, their wine... and their diabetes?
Of all the EU members states, France counts the highest proportion of people living with chronic diabetes, a study by the EU Commission has found.
Thursday November 14 is International Diabetes Day, and an estimated 33 million EU citizens suffer from the disease, according to the EU Commission.
One in 10 people in France (10.0%) declared that they suffered from chronic diabetes, the study found. Portugal came second with 9.3%, then Greece with 9.2%, according to the latest available data.
On the healthier side of the spectrum, Lithuanian people aged 15 or over were less than 5% to report chronic diabetes (4.4%), compared to 4.6% in Denmark and Ireland, 4.7% in Latvia, 4.8% in Romania and Sweden and 4.9% in Austria.
The report noted that no systematic difference can be observed between men and women, but that age does make a difference: "The older the age group, the higher the share."
Among people aged 65 to 74 in the EU, 16.3% reported chronic diabetes. In the group aged 75 or over, the figure jumped to almost a fifth (19.6%). For age groups below 45, the figure was under 2%.
Within EU countries, there are also massive regional disparities. Eurostat said Wednesday in a press release that the highest rates of death from diabetes were recorded in the Portuguese regions of Azores, Madeira and Alentejo.
The lowest rates were recorded in two regions of Romania: Nord-Vest and the capital region of Bucuresti.
In the UK, the number of people who are obese has almost doubled in the last 20 years from 6.9 to 13 million, Diabetes UK said on Wednesday. This is a cause of concern as obesity is the main driver for the most common form of diabetes, the non-profit said.
Levels of education also showed a "clear pattern", the EU Commission report noted: the proportion of diabetics in the EU falls as the educational level rises.
Among those with a low educational level, the percentage of people reporting chronic diabetes reached 10.8%, while for those with a medium level of education it was 5.7%. The lowest percentage, at 4.2%, was reached among the highest-educated population.