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UN Secretary-General’s Message on World Diabetes Day, 14 November 2013

Vienna, 14 November 2013: The United Nations’ Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in his message marking the World Diabetes day on 14 November, said: I call on governments to make good on their commitments to address non-communicable diseases, including by fostering sustainable food production and consumption, and I encourage all people to minimize their personal risk. This can contribute to better living for individuals and a more sustainable future for our planet.

Each year, World Diabetes Day, which is co-ordinated by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), carries a particular theme and between 2009 and 2013 the theme has been ‘education and prevention’. The campaign slogan for 2012 was ‘Diabetes: protect our future’ and focuses on supporting children with type 1 diabetes and preventing our current generation of children from developing type 2 diabetes.
November 14th is a significant date in the diabetes calendar because it marks the birthday of the man who co-discovered insulin, Frederick Banting. Banting discovered insulin in 1922, alongside Charles Best. World Diabetes Day is internationally recognised and is now an official United Nations Day.

Diabetes is on the rise in all regions, with younger and poorer people suffering in increasing numbers. Approximately 350 million people worldwide who live with diabetes. This is a serious problem - but individually and collectively we can take actions to prevent and control diabetes. Earlier this year, countries meeting at the World Health Assembly adopted a Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases calling on countries to stop the rise in obesity and the associated rise in diabetes.

While many people are genetically at greater risk of diabetes, the condition is largely driven by unhealthy lifestyles which are due to the globalization of marketing and trade of unhealthy food, rapid urbanization with reduced opportunity to be physically active, and population ageing. The resulting obesity, poor diet and lack of exercise are major contributors to the rising diabetes burden.

Reducing the number of overweight infants and children is critical. In today's world of plenty, it is shameful that so many people lack access to healthy foods. Rather than relying on fast foods and quick solutions, countries and communities should support smallholder and family farmers, foster sustainable agriculture and encourage people to eat healthful produce and support physical activity.

As we work for prevention, we must also provide treatment to all those who need it. Nearly one hundred years after insulin was first used to save the life of a diabetic patient, people around the world still die because they cannot access this hormone. Improving access to essential medication for people with diabetes is another target that countries have committed to achieve in the next decade.
Source: UN


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