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Fight Obesity, Prevent Diabetes

Fight Obesity, Prevent Diabetes

In recent years World Diabetes Day has focused on complications of diabetes such as cardiovascular disease, eye disease and kidney disease. This year we are concentrating on one of the major risk factors for type 2 diabetes: obesity. Our campaign slogan is "Fight Obesity Prevent Diabetes".

Obesity and type 2 diabetes currently threaten the health, well-being and economic welfare of virtually every country in the world. According to the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF), up to 1.7 billion of the world’s population is already at an increased risk of weight-related non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Overweight and obesity are increasingly affecting children and adolescents, resulting in more and more children being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, until recently a disease more frequently associated with adults and the elderly.

Overweight and obesity are the main modifiable risk factors for type 2 diabetes. The message that we are transmitting with our campaign is a simple one: lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and being physically active are effective in delaying and, in many cases, preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes, and reducing the risk of developing complications in people with diabetes. It is estimated that at least half of all cases of type 2 diabetes could be prevented if weight gain in adults could be avoided.

Individual actions, however, are not sufficient to halt the current epidemic. A concerted effort is required by health professionals, policy makers, and the private sector to reduce the overall level of risk in the world’s population. This can be achieved through the promotion and implementation of environmental policies (in areas such as health, transport, agriculture and finance) that encourage healthy living from an early age. Decision-makers should be made to understand the huge social and economic consequences to the individual and society of the increasing diabetes and obesity epidemics.

World Diabetes Day is the primary global diabetes awareness campaign, and therefore the ideal occasion to inform the general public, healthcare professionals, policy makers and the media about the strong link between overweight, obesity and diabetes. World Diabetes Day is also a valuable means through which people with diabetes can improve their knowledge of the condition so as to be able to live a full and healthy life.

World Diabetes Day brings together our member associations, the World Health Organisation and its regional offices, organisations involved in diabetes or diabetes-related areas, industry partners, health professionals, and individuals with an interest in diabetes from all over the world. Once again let us join forces on 14 November to give visibility to diabetes and improve the lives of all who are, directly or indirectly, affected by the condition.
Prof Pierre Lefèbvre IDF President

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