Wednesday, 20 January 2021

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What causes 1.5 million deaths a year?


11.11.2015 – The cause of 1.5 million deaths* - a disease that affects 9% of all adults**: Diabetes.

More than 90% of people with the disease live in low and middle income countries and the World Health Organization projects that diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death in 2030.

Diabetes is a chronic, debilitating and costly disease associated with severe complications, which poses severe risks for the entire world and serious challenges to the achievement of internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

World Diabetes Day logo

On 14 November, the United Nations observes World Diabetes Day to raise public awareness of diabetes and related complications, as well as its prevention and care, including through education and the media. The UN encourages countries to develop national policies for the prevention, treatment and care of diabetes in line with the sustainable development of their health-care systems, taking into account the SDGs.

World Health Organization (WHO) Diabetes Programme aims to prevent diabetes whenever possible and, where not possible, to minimize complications and maximize quality of life. The programme's core functions are to set norms and standards, promote surveillance, encourage prevention, raise awareness and strengthen prevention and control.

The Chairperson of the 2015 Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine is Professor in Clinical Intagrative Physiology Juleen Zierath, whose research focuses on the cellular mechanisms that correspond to the development ofinsulin resistanceinType II diabetes. With her team, they have lead many discoveries in diabetic research, such as exercise improving glucose metabolism and gene expression in patients. 

The research done by Professor Zierath, and others who work in this field, will one day hopefully cure the disaease.

Observing World Diabetes Day helps to inform the public of the devastating impact of diabetes on people’s lives.   


WHO Tips for Diabetes Prevention:

Simple lifestyle measures have been shown to be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes. To help prevent type 2 diabetes and its complications, people should:Simple lifestyle measures have been shown to be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes. To help prevent type 2 diabetes and its complications, people should:

- Achieve and maintain healthy body weight;

- Be physically active – at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days. More activity is required for weight control;

- Eat a healthy diet of between 3 and 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day and reduce sugar and saturated fats intake;

- Avoid tobacco use – smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.


WHO View on Diabetes:


*in 2012

**in 2014


UNRIC’s Related Links:

•   World Diabetes Day

•   Diabetes Facts 

•   SDG #3 Healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages

Photo Credits:

•   Cover Photo: Dennis Sklev


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