Say Goodbye to Diabetes on World Diabetes Day

People from all corners of the world are uniting together for three days of celebration to put diabetes firmly in the public spotlight starting on November 12. World Diabetes Day is the best opportunity to draw attention to the silent killer that is diabetes.

World Diabetes Day was initiated in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat of diabetes to the global community. World Diabetes Day draws attention every year to issues of paramount importance to the realities of diabetes world and keeps diabetes firmly in the public spotlight. It is represented by the blue circle, the global symbol of diabetes.

Diabetes is a leading threat to global health and development today. According to IDF, the disease now affects over 300 million people worldwide and will cost the global economy at least US$376 billion in 2010.This cost 11.6% of total world healthcare expenditure. A further 344 million people are at risk of developing type2 diabetes — the most common form of the disease. If nothing is done to reverse the epidemic, IDF predicts that by 2030, 438 million people will live with diabetes at a cost projected to exceed US$490 billion.

Faced with these alarming numbers, World Diabetes Day aims to establish access to diabetes education as a right for all people with diabetes.It will also promote greater awareness of the risk factors, warning signs of diabetes and encourage best-practice sharing in diabetes prevention.

This year sees the second of a five-year campaign (2009-2013) that addresses the growing need for diabetes education and prevention programs throughout the world. The theme for World Diabetes Day 2010 is “Let’s take control of diabetes Now.” In keeping with this theme, IDF has developed a special web application .This is called the Blue Circle Test to showcase the risk factors for type 2 diabetes and highlight the positive actions that individuals can take to help prevent the disease.

To mark World Diabetes Day this year, IDF is coordinating a program of work called the Diabetes Roadmap.This program will produce and package arguments, evidence and solutions to ensure the UN Summit translates into real change for the millions of people with diabetes worldwide.

As part of World Diabetes Day 2010, the International Diabetes Federation will be focussing on a major diabetes epicenter which is China. IDF plans to unveil a major global diabetes plan, A Call to Action on Diabetes on November 14, as part of World Diabetes Day festivities at the iconic Great Hall of the People at Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

Economic progress in China is coming at the cost of public health. China has 92.4 million adults with diabetes (1 in every 10 adults). A Call to Action is the central advocacy tool for the global diabetes community in the lead up to the UN Summit.This action brings the global diabetes epidemic to the attention of world leaders. They can guide, secure action, commitment, support and resources for diabetes.

New data on how much diabetes is costing the Chinese economy and society will also be announced, followed by an expert panel session featuring Madame Kong Lingzhi, Deputy Director-General, Chinese Ministry of Health, and Professor Jean Claude Mbanya, IDF President.

“Ninety years after the discovery of insulin and four years after UN Resolution 61/225, the number of people with diabetes continues to grow at a staggering rate. In every country and in every community worldwide, we are losing the battle against this cruel and deadly disease,” said IDF President Jean Claude Mbanya.

Celebrations will extend from China to various countries in the world, with famous landmarks and monuments once again lighting up in blue for diabetes awareness. More than 500 iconic buildings in over 60 countries will be illuminated including Table Mountain in South Africa, Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, the Brandenburger Tor in Germany and Niagara Falls in Canada.

Activities such as mass walks for diabetes and aerobics will be held in conjunction. The activites will demonstrate the importance of a healthy lifestyle to help take control of this epidemic.

“Our global diabetes champions will literally bring diabetes to light on World Diabetes Day. No matter where we are, it’s our efforts that will make World Diabetes Day a truly global success,” said Prof Mbanya.

“The time to act for diabetes is now.”