World Diabetes Day Featured Image

World Diabetes Day (14th November 2015)

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What is World Diabetes Day?

It has been estimated that by the year 2035, almost 600 million people worldwide could be living with diabetes, and, perhaps even more worryingly, it’s thought that almost half of diabetes cases go undiagnosed today. With 4.9 million deaths attributable annually to diabetes, the disease is a worldwide epidemic. World Diabetes Day, or WDD, was launched in 1991 with the help of the World Health Organisation, and the event became officially recognised by the United Nations in 2006.

With a worldwide audience of close to a billion people in 160 countries, World Diabetes Day works to keep diabetes issues in the global spotlight, and seeks to inform and educate on this key world health issue. The campaign is promoted by the use of a small blue circle logo, which appears on all publicity associated with WDD.

What are the Key Messages of World Diabetes Day?World Diabetes Day

The key messages of the campaign are simple: the first is to encourage people to eat healthily today. By making a few changes now, those already living with diabetes will find their condition easier to manage, while those who are currently free from the disease will be at a lesser risk of developing it in the future. The second key message is related to the first: by acting today, we can all change the world tomorrow. What this means in practice is that people need access to affordable, healthy food options: only by populations eating well can the global effects of diabetes be diminished, and this in itself is linked to sustainable global development.

The 2015 Diabetes Day Theme, and Why Issues Arising from Diabetes Affect Us All

World Diabetes Day will take place as usual this year on 14th November. As in previous years, there will be a theme: between 2009 and 2013, themes were based around the key issues of education and prevention, but for 2015 it’s time for a change. This year, the theme of World Diabetes Day is Healthy Living and Diabetes, with a push to sell the benefits of starting each day right with a healthy breakfast. Because the levels of people living with Type 2 diabetes are rising in just about every country in the world, diabetes increasingly affects all of our lives. Finally, the costs of treating diabetes worldwide costs upward of $600 billion each year, meaning that we all pay the price of diabetes, whether in our taxes, or in increased medical insurance premiums. This money could be spent elsewhere- but unless the incidence of diabetes starts decreasing, that simply isn’t going to happen.

Is World Diabetes Day about Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, most commonly diagnosed in children aged between 10 to 14 years (but it can develop and be diagnosed at any age). It is thought that genetics play a large part in the development of Type 1 diabetes, but currently there doesn’t seem to be a link between diet and Type 1 diabetes. On the other hand, Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder, which has been linked to poor diet. Worldwide, 90% of diabetes sufferers have Type 2, which is most commonly diagnosed after the age of 40, although rates in teens and young people have been steadily increasing for a number of years.

What are the Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes?

Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include being obese or overweight; having a waist size over 31.5″ (women) or 37″ (men); eating a high sugar or otherwise unhealthy diet; having low levels of exercise; having a close relative with the condition; having high blood pressure or cholesterol levels; having African-Caribbean or South Asian heritage, and smoking. Part of the philosophy behind World Diabetes Day is to raise awareness of unhealthy habits, and the impact that they can have on your health. Ultimately, if diabetes levels are to change for the better, we all need to make a lifestyle change for the better.

Why is Healthy Eating So Important?Healthy Eating

We hear a lot about healthy eating and diet fads in the media, and it can be hard to distinguish the facts from the fiction. We all know we should be ‘eating more healthily’ and exercising more, but what does that really mean? According to the International Diabetes Foundation, healthy lifestyles could prevent up to 70% of Type 2 diabetes cases. With the theme this year concentrating on healthy breakfasts, low-sugar options are being promoted for the most important meal of the day. Instead of sugary cereals, juices, and toasted white bread for breakfast, low sugar foodstuffs such as oats, Greek yoghurt, bananas, berries, nuts, spinach omelettes, avocados and wholegrains can be more health-friendly alternatives that won’t cause a spike in your blood sugar, leaving you hungry again just a short time later.

How to Show Your Support

There are lots of ways to show your support and raise awareness of World Diabetes Day. Social media presence is of course a critical tool in 2015, and simply by liking, retweeting, and sharing, the word gets out. “Blue circle selfies” shared via Instagram, Facebook, and other social media channels are also a good way to get others talking about the issues involved. If you’re willing to take your support to the next level, there are also lots of real world ways to show support and contribute to the cause. Buying and wearing the blue circle pin is a good start, and organising a healthy meal in your local community, perhaps with donations to WDD, is a fun and non-preachy way to get people engaged with the key messages of WWD. Contacting local authorities with a request to promote the day locally, or running a Healthy Eating Day in your workplace, school, college, or university, can also have a big impact. Finally, World Diabetes Day’s Twitter account has plenty of inspirational and educational messages for retweeting.[/fusion_text][/one_full][/fullwidth]