Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged lowering the number of people living with diabetes – increasingly younger and poorer – by changing unhealthy lifestyles that include poor diets and a lack of exercise. “In today’s world of plenty, it is shameful that so many people lack access to healthy foods,” Mr. Ban stated in his message for World Diabetes Day, observed annually on 14 November. Instead of relying on fast foods and quick solutions, he called on countries and communities “to support smallholder and family farmers, foster sustainable agriculture and encourage people to eat healthful produce and support physical activity”. Approximately 350 million people are currently living with diabetes and the number is expected to double between 2005 and 2030, according to projections by the UN World Health Organization (WHO). Earlier this year, countries meeting at the World Health Assembly adopted a Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases calling on countries to stop the rise in obesity and the associated rise in diabetes. “On World Diabetes Day, I call on Governments to make good on their commitments to address non-communicable diseases, including by fostering sustainable food production and consumption,” Mr. Ban said, “and I encourage all people to minimize their personal risk.” Diabetes – which occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces – has become one of the major causes of premature illness and death in most countries, mainly through the increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). More than 80 per cent of people with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries and are frequently between 35 and 64 ages old, WHO reported, adding that early diagnosis and proper treatment are key to controlling the disease. “Nearly one hundred years after insulin was first used to save the life of a diabetic patient, people around the world still die because they cannot access this hormone,” Mr. Ban stated. Started by WHO and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the Day is celebrated on 14 November to mark the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, was instrumental in the discovery of insulin in 1922, a life-saving treatment for diabetes patients.
“During my visit, I’ve spoken to ministers, to provincial and district authorities, and to teachers and students. What I heard at every level was a commitment to support these goals,” Ms. Cousin said in a news release from the Laotian capital, Vientiane, at the end of her three-day mission. She said that WFP is working with communities in rural areas to make sure school meal programmes support education outcomes. “Achieving middle-income status is about the development of human capital, and that begins with food and nutrition security, and with education.” WFP is preparing to launch a new five-year program in Lao PDR next year, contributing towards Sustainable Development Goal 2 on achieving food and nutrition security globally by 2030. This initiative will further support the Eight National Social Economic Development Plan, bringing the country to middle-income status by 2020. An independent review was carried out this year, to identify which areas of the new programme should be prioritized to achieve Goal 2. On her trip, Ms. Cousin also visited schools in Luang Prabang province where WFP is working with partners to provide a package of assistance to students. The agency is working closely with the Government at all levels to take over and improve school lunch programs by 2021. Improved meal plans, in addition to schools gardens, literacy programs, and hygiene and sanitation initiatives can combine into a good sustainable model for development, according to WFP>