World Diabetes Day
Diabetes: A global crisis
The numbers are undeniable: one in ten adults globally has diabetes, with over 90% having type 2 diabetes, and almost half of them unaware of their condition. In the year 2021, diabetes led to a tragic toll of 6.7 million lives and a staggering $966 billion in global healthcare spending.
The gravity of the situation isn’t lost on experts like Béatrice Morio, chair of Healthy Diet, Healthy Life (HDHL):
Whereas a few decades ago, type 2 diabetes was a disease of the elderly, today it increasingly affects young adults, teenagers and even children. Type 2 diabetes is associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease, kidney disease, and certain cancers (liver, pancreas, colorectal, endometrial, breast and bladder). The numbers serve as an urgent wake-up call, emphasizing the critical need to address and tackle this health crisis.
HDHL's alignment with the cause
HDHL stands for funding research to prevent diet-related diseases like type 2 diabetes. Béatrice emphasises that HDHL’s vision is “for all citizens to have the motivation, ability, and opportunity to consume a healthy diet from a variety of foods, to have healthy levels of physical activity so that the incidence of diet-related diseases decreases significantly. This vision, actively pursued through a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach, aims to diminish the prevalence of type 2 diabetes across all age groups.”
Research contributions by HDHL
To this end, HDHL has made substantial contributions to the understanding of diabetes. Projects like Microdiet delved into the connection between gut microbiota and metabolic disorders like obesity and type 2 diabetes. This research underscores the significant role that dietary proteins play in influencing glucose and lipid metabolism in individuals with type 2 diabetes, supplementing previous studies that primarily focused on the microbial metabolism of dietary fibers.
Additionally, Béatrice highlights HDHL's impactful involvement in research on the risk factors of type 2 diabetes. For instance, in 2020, the call "Prevention of unhealthy weight gain and obesity during early life and other critical life events throughout the lifespan" funded four projects, emphasizing the multifaceted approach required in combating obesity and diabetes. Moving from HDHL's research to a global outlook, World Diabetes Day emphasizes the critical need to address diabetes as a pressing public health concern.
World Diabetes Day
World Diabetes Day, established in 1991 and endorsed by the UN in 2006, is a global platform on November 14th, calling for urgent improvements in prevention, timely diagnosis, and effective management strategies.
This year's World Diabetes Day slogan, "know your risk, know your response," emphasizes individual responsibility, urging those at risk of type 2 diabetes to prioritize awareness for prevention, early diagnosis, and timely treatment. However, it's important to note that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes isn't solely based on individual choices; our environment significantly influences our behaviour, with the food system shaping our available options.
This is why, beyond funding research, HDHL is continuously working to bridge the gap between food and health domains to enable a transition to healthy and sustainable food systems. (Read more about how HDHL aims to do that here). It's time to unite efforts, go beyond individual choices, and advocate for systemic changes. Together, we can create an environment that supports healthy choices, prevents chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes.
Call to action
Join the International Diabetes Foundation's call to action to policymakers by sending a letter to your national health minister. This collective effort from experts, researchers, and stakeholders can make a significant difference in bridging science to policy.