The number of people living with diabetes has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults, with most living in developing countries. Factors driving this dramatic rise include overweight and obesity, WHO announced ahead of World Health Day.
WHO is marking its annual World Health Day (7 April), which celebrates the Organization’s founding in 1948, by issuing a call for action on diabetes. In its first “Global report on diabetes”, WHO highlights the need to step up prevention and treatment of the disease.
Among the key findings from the “Global report on diabetes” are:
- The number of people living with diabetes and its prevalence are growing in all regions of the world. In 2014, 422 million adults (or 8.5% of the population) had diabetes, compared with 108 million (4.7%) in 1980.
- The epidemic of diabetes has major health and socioeconomic impacts, especially in developing countries.
- In 2014, more than 1 in 3 adults aged over 18 years were overweight and more than one in 10 were obese.
- The complications of diabetes can lead to heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation. For example, rates of lower limb amputation are 10 to 20 times higher for people with diabetes.
- Diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths in 2012. Higher-than-optimal blood glucose caused an additional 2.2 million deaths by increasing the risks of cardiovascular and other diseases.
- Many of these deaths (43%) occur prematurely, before the age of 70 years, and are largely preventable through adoption of policies to create supportive environments for healthy lifestyles and better detection and treatment of the disease.
- Good management includes use of a small set of generic medicines; interventions to promote healthy lifestyles; patient education to facilitate self-care; and regular screening for early detection and treatment of complications.
The Nepal Diabetes Association (NDA) had reported a year back that among people aged 20 years and older living in urban areas, 15% are affected by this disease.
Among people aged 40 years and older in urban areas, this number climbed to 19%. Nepal is also facing the consequences of urban lifestyle leading to obesity and metabolic syndrome.
Studies have shown prevalence of overweight and obesity in certain sections of the population to be as high as 32.9% and 7.2%, respectively . This calls for a need for proper prevention and treatment mechanisms in the Nepalese health system.
Identification of diabetes and other Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) into the policies and translated into actions for example, health promotion programmes are pressing need for Nepal with transition in the nutritional and lifestyles choices.
- Vaidya AK, Pokharel PK, Nagesh S, Karki P, Kumar S, Majhi S, et al. Association of obesity and physical activity in adult males of Dharan, Nepal. Kathmandu Univ Med J. 2006;4:192–7.