Novo Nordisk has named Greater Manchester as the 22nd city, and second in the UK, to join Cities Changing Diabetes, a scheme designed to address the dramatic rise of type II diabetes in urban areas.

Launched in 2014 by Novo, University College London and the Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen, the programme is testing ways of encouraging healthier lifestyles via a variety of different community, urban planning and health promotion activities.

It aims to hold the rise of diabetes at a ceiling of one in 10 adults living with the condition, which requires “ambitious action” on obesity to drive a 25 percent reduction by 2045 from today’s level of 26 percent of the UK population.

Diabetes prevalence in Greater Manchester has doubled in the last 20 years. Currently 7.2% of the population are living with the condition, which is higher than the England average, bringing the total figure to 160,000 (150,000 of which have type II disease).

Furthermore, it is predicted that over a quarter of people in Greater Manchester will develop type II diabetes in their lifetime, putting them at increased risk of having a heart attack, stroke or amputation.

“With the rise of type 2 diabetes in our cities, we are currently heading towards over 5 million people living with the condition in the UK by 2025,” noted Pinder Sahota, general manager of Novo Nordisk UK.

“Cities Changing Diabetes aims to change these numbers and bend the curve of urban diabetes. By improving education and collaborating with forward thinking partners like Greater Manchester, we can arm everyone to fight this growing epidemic.”

The drugmaker also announced the launch of its Cycle for Cities Changing Diabetes 2019, which sees 120 cyclists including ambassadors from Team Novo Nordisk travel through seven UK cities in seven days to raise awareness of diabetes.

The cyclists started in Leicester, the first UK city to join the Cities Changing Diabetes programme, and will make their way to Manchester today before continuing on to Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol and Oxford, finishing the 900km journey at the Olympic VeloPark in Stratford, London.