The World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on 7 April, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO). Established in 1950 this event has a theme each year to draw attention to a current world health issue. The WHO puts together regional, local, and international events on this day related to that theme.  

This year WHO decided to focus on diabetes, as about 350 million people worldwide suffer from it and a number likely to more than double in the next 20 years. In 2012, an estimated 1.5 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes. More than 80% of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Moreover, diabetes is predicted to become the 7th leading cause of death in the world by the year 2030.

World Health Organization explains:

Diabetes is a serious, chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. There are three major types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes which is the most frequent among children and adolescents; type 2 diabetes which is the most frequent among adults and it is linked to obesity or overweight, lack of physical activity and poor nutrition; and gestational diabetes which is a complication of pregnancy that affects an estimated 10% of pregnancies globally.

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.

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