World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations Day in 2006 with the passage of United Nation Resolution 61/225. The campaign draws attention to issues of paramount importance to the diabetes world and keeps diabetes firmly in the public and political spotlight. The campaign is represented by a blue circle logo that was adopted in 2007 after the passage of the UN Resolution on diabetes. The blue circle is the global symbol for diabetes awareness. It signifies the unity of the global diabetes community in response to the diabetes epidemic.
The theme for World Diabetes Day 2017 is women and diabetes. The aim is to promote the importance of access for all women at risk for or living with diabetes to the essential diabetes medicines and technologies, self management education and information they require to achieve good diabetes management and strengthen their capacity to prevent type 2 diabetes.
In the Cook Islands 54% of people with diabetes are women and approximately 1 in 100 women develops diabetes during pregnancy or otherwise known as gestational diabetes or GDM..
Women with diabetes have more difficulty conceiving and may have poor pregnancy outcomes. GDM is a severe threat to the health of the mother and child. Many women with GDM experience pregnancy related complications including high blood pressure, large birth weight babies and obstructed labourWomen with diabetes are 10 times more likely to develop heart disease.
A significant number of women with GDM also go on to develop type 2 diabetes 5-10 years after delivery, resulting in further healthcare complications and costs. For Women with GDM, it is important after delivery, that you lose weight if overweight and adopt a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy food and doing daily physical activity so that you don’t develop Type 2 diabetes. Over 70% of cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Women as mothers have a huge influence over the long term health of their children. Women are gatekeepers of household nutrition and healthy lifestyles and therefore have the potential to drive the message of prevention within the household and beyond.
Our young people need to know more about healthy lifestyles and how this can prevent diabetes. 70% of all premature deaths among adults are largely due to behaviours that start during adolescence.
On Tuesday 14 November, the Ministry of Health is offering free blood sugar testing and both the Hospital and Tupapa Outpatients Clinic. Take the opportunity to check your blood sugar and your risk of diabetes.
What else can you do? Use this week to start making those lifestyle changes for you and your family. After all, eating healthy food and doing daily exercise is not just for people with or without diabetes or other Non-Communicable diseases such as high blood pressure, but is for everyone – young and old. Choose healthy living and make the changes to prevent diabetes.
Act Today To Change Tomorrow.