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Understand Diabetes and Take Control

IDF World Diabetes Day banner

With a special multi-agency event on 14 November, Cayman will join the international community to celebrate World Diabetes Day.

Started in 1991 and designated as an official United Nations day in 2007, World Diabetes Day is an International Diabetes Federation (IDF) event that highlights the ongoing campaign against diabetes as well as the effort to enhance the lives of diabetes sufferers.

This year sees the start of a five-year campaign that will specifically address the critical need for diabetes education and prevention programmes. Accordingly, the theme chosen for 2009 is Understand Diabetes and Take Control.

Locally, the Cayman Islands Diabetes Association (CIDA), the Diabetic Support Group (DSG), the Lions Clubs of Tropical Gardens and Lions Central, Rotaract Blue, Kiwanis, the Ministry of Health, the Health Services Authority (HSA) and Camana Bay have all joined forces to raise awareness through When the Lights Go Blue, Diabetes Awareness is in Focus.

This free event, hosted at The Crescent in Camana Bay, will start with illuminating the fountain in blue. (World Diabetes Day is represented by the blue circle logo, the global diabetes symbol).

Health risk screenings for children and adults will take place on site. These will include waist circumference, height, weight, body mass index, blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol checks as well as diabetes risk assessments.

In addition there will be a silent auction to raise funds for the Diabetic Support Group and the school poster competition winners will be announced.

For entertainment there will be games and a bouncing castle for children, live music by the Cayman Islands National Wind Ensemble and Professor Powell, and refreshments will be supplied by Luca, Roots, and Cayman Imports.

"This is an excellent opportunity to increase knowledge of diabetes and support those living with this condition, and we hope to see many people come out for the event," said HSA' Community Dietitian/Nutritionist Bethany Smith.

In response to the IDF's challenge to all countries to light iconic buildings and monuments in blue to bring diabetes awareness to the fore, the lighting of Butterfield Bank, Pedro St. James National Historic Site, and Kirk Freeport Stingray Fountain at Bayshore Mall will also take place.

The 2009 global challenge is expected to exceed the 1107 monuments and buildings lit in blue last year. In the past, Cayman has participated in the challenge by lighting Hero's Square Fountain and the Mission House.

Diabetes imposes life-long demands on the 250 million people and their families worldwide, now living with diabetes. In the Cayman Islands alone, an estimated percent of the adult population lives with the disease.

"At present, Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, although research is ongoing. Type 2 diabetes, however, can be prevented in many cases by helping and encouraging those at risk to maintain a healthy weight and to regularly exercise," Ms Smith explained.

"We hope that by commemorating World Diabetes Day we will be able to promote greater awareness of the risk factors, encourage people to share ways to prevent diabetes, and ensure that everyone has access to diabetes education," she concluded.

Other local diabetes awareness and education activities are:

  • A diabetes awareness poster competition for Years 5 & 6 students; all schools are welcome to enter.

  • The distribution of an educational leaflet Tips 4 Teens, Lower Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes to all middle/secondary schools. This is sponsored by the HSA.

  • The distribution of educational booklets to all school and libraries, doctor's offices and hospitals. This is sponsored by CIDA.

  • Distribution of diabetes pins, World Diabetes Day (WDD) posters, and WDD booklets for the 2009-2013 campaign on Diabetes Education & Prevention, by the Diabetic Support Group

  • A presentation of an educational course entitled Take Control: Manage Your Diabetes. This takes place 6-20 November, 5-8 p.m. at the Cayman Islands Hospital.

  • A 5k Fun Run/Walk for Diabetes on Saturday, 28 November at 7 a.m., starting from Seven Mile Public Beach.

For more information on World Diabetes Day celebrations and how you can support the campaign, call Ms Smith on 244-2663, CIDA or the DSG.

The blue circle

It is the universal symbol for diabetes. Until 2006, there was no global symbol for diabetes and so its purpose is to give diabetes a common identity. In general it aims to:

  • support all existing efforts to raise awareness about diabetes

  • inspire new activities, bring diabetes to the attention of the general public

  • brand diabetes, and

  • provide a means to show support for the fight against diabetes


The Cayman Islands Diabetic Association

Its mission is to improve the lives and offer support to people with diabetes, and their families, and to work towards a future without diabetes.

The association's goals are:

  • To offer support for diabetics and their families;

  • To strengthen education and awareness about diabetes; and

  • To liaise with the Ministry of Health and other ministries to ensure that all needs, including the healthcare, of the diabetic community are met.

CIDA is a member of the International Diabetes Federation. For more information contact Ms Sylvia Perry at 928-6240.

Source: Cayman Islands Diabetic Association

The Diabetic Support Group

The Diabetic Support Group is a network of persons with diabetes (and pre-diabetes) in the Cayman Islands. The society started during Diabetes Awareness Month in November 2006. The general objective is to help ensure we live a life as close to normal with diabetes - continue to work, have children and live a long and healthy life by promoting diabetes education, self-management and access to relevant care. The University of Miami Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) assists in diabetes education activities. An annual family fun day is held for children and youth with diabetes. Fund-raising objectives include sponsorship of youth participation in diabetes camps offered in the summer and other activities with insulin-dependent diabetics. To be a part of the network call 926-1053 or join the on-line group at:

Source: The Diabetic Support Group

For further information contact: Cornelia Oliver