World Diabetes Day Underscores Importance of Healthy Lifestyle

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World Diabetes Day Underscores Importance of Healthy Lifestyle
World Diabetes Day Underscores Importance of Healthy Lifestyle

Every year on Nov. 14, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) leads the World Diabetes Day campaign for worldwide diabetes advocacy and awareness. The theme for 2014-2016 is “Healthy Living and Diabetes,” which aims to convey the importance of eating a healthy breakfast to help with the prevention of type 2 diabetes and management of all types of diabetes.

Diabetes affects almost 400 million people worldwide, results in over 5 million deaths per year and accounts for almost $550 billion in annual health care spending. The majority of these health care costs come from diabetes-related complications, which can be prevented through early diagnosis and proper diabetes management.

This year's World Diabetes Day has two key messages:

  • Investing in a healthy breakfast will reduce the global burden of diabetes and save billions in lost productivity and health care costs.
  • Ensuring access to an affordable and healthy breakfast is essential to reducing the global burden of diabetes.

More than 70% of type 2 diabetes cases can be prevented or delayed if patients adopted healthier lifestyles. Part of a healthy lifestyle includes eating a healthy breakfast, a habit that has been shown to decrease the risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Skipping breakfast is associated with weight gain, which is one of the main risk factors for type 2 diabetes.


The affordability and availability of healthy foods must be improved in order for more people to adopt healthier diets. Currently, a healthy diet costs an average of $1.50 more per day than an unhealthy diet. Energy-dense, low-nutrient foods are cheaper and more widely available than the vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains and unsaturated fats that should comprise a healthy diet.

The IDF also released their Diabetes Atlas, which provides some key facts about the diabetes epidemic:

  • There are 387 million people living with diabetes worldwide. By 2035, this number is expected to increase by 205 million.
  • Almost half of people with diabetes (46.3%) are unaware that they have it.
  • One person dies from diabetes every 7 seconds.

World Diabetes Day is observed by the more than 200 associations that comprise the IDF, spanning more than 160 countries and territories. In addition to the IDF, other diabetes organizations, non-governmental organizations, health departments, civil societies, companies and individuals have organized a variety of different activities in honor of the day, ranging from free diabetes screenings to monument lightings.

To see how World Diabetes Day is being celebrated across the globe, visit the IDF's interactive map

The IDF Diabetes Atlas is also available for download.

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