UN wants to stem diabetes in Caribbean

Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon

UNITED NATIONS – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the people of the Caribbean must take steps towards a healthy lifestyle while governments create conditions to stem the global epidemic of diabetes.
In his message to mark World Diabetes Day, the secretary- general reiterated the warning from the World Health Organization (WHO) that diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death by 2030.
The UN said close to 350 million people in the world have diabetes, a chronic disease that occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or when it cannot effectively use the insulin it does produce to help the body metabolise the sugar that is formed from the food we eat.
“There is much all of us can do to minimize our risk of getting the disease and, even if we do get it, to live long and healthy lives with it,” said the UN chief, suggesting, for example, that “anyone who can stand instead of sit, walk a little bit more each day and is generally more active should do so.”
Multiple actions can be taken to reduce the impact of diabetes, through adopting healthy lifestyles, such as partaking in physical activity and healthy diets, to government action on curbing the marketing of unhealthy foods and ensuring health systems provide the required services and care for people living with the disease.
In 2012, diabetes was the direct cause of some 1.5 million deaths, with more than 80% occurring in low- and middle-income countries, the UN said. WHO projects that diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death by 2030.
There are two main forms of the disease. People with type 1 diabetes typically make none of their own insulin and, therefore, require insulin injections for survival. People with type 2 diabetes, the form that comprises some 90% of all cases, usually produce their own insulin but not enough or they are unable to use it properly.
People with type 2 diabetes are typically overweight and sedentary, WHO said. “But, properly treated, the impact of diabetes can be minimised.”