World Diabetes Day 2014

November 14 is World Diabetes Day (WDD). Led by the International Diabetes Federation, WDD aims at raising awareness about diabetes, a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas is no longer able to make insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, that promotes the passage of the glucose contained in the food we eat from the blood stream into the cells in the body to produce energy.

When the body is not able to produce insulin or use it, glucose levels in the blood rise (hyperglycaemia). Over the long-term high glucose levels can impair body’s functions.

There are two main forms of diabetes, or diabetes mellitus:

Type 1 diabetes is caused by impaired secretion of insulin. It is also known as juvenile diabetes because the usual onset occurs during childhood. Unfortunately, it cannot be prevented.

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency and can occur at any age. It accounts for almost 90% of all cases of diabetes.

There are 382 million people living with diabetes and the number is estimated to increase to 582 M in 2035. Every seven seconds a person dies from diabetes.

Fortunately, we can take some actions to lessen the global burden of diabetes, save lives and reduce healthcare costs.

How to prevent type 2 diabetes?

A healthy diet containing leafy vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains, lean meat, fish and nuts can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 ‪diabetes and avoid complications in people with diabetes.

30 minutes of exercise a day can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 40%.

Avoid smoking, an important risk factor for diabetes.

Healthy Living and Diabetes is the World Diabetes Day theme for 2014-2016. In particular, this year’s activities are focused on promoting healthy breakfasts. Here’s a list of some healthy and unhealthy breakfast options.

Healthy breakfast options:

  • Unsweetened tea, coffee or water
  • Vegetables
  • Wholegrain bread, rice or other products
  • Low fat milk
  • Peanut butter
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Eggs (boiled, scrambled or poached)
  • Unsweetened yoghurt, (e.g., with nuts ,seeds, fresh fruit)
  • Fish
  • A piece of fresh fruit (e.g., apple, pear, orange, peach)
  • Cheese (small portion)
  • Low sugar, high fiber cereal

Unhealthy breakfast options:

  • Fruit juice, fruit smoothies
  • Sugar-sweetened yoghurt
  • White bread, pastries, croissants
  • Most breakfast cereals
  • Jam, honey, chocolate spread
  • Fried food
  • Sugar sweetened beverages
  • Flavored milk

So, let’s start the day with a healthy meal. Because, as the old adage says, who well begun is half done!


International Diabetes Federation

Published by Piera Forestieri

Health and Nutrition Advocate, Consultant, and Educator

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