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World Diabetes Day

Hon Mark Scotland, MLA

Message from

Minister of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports and Culture

The Hon. Mark Scotland

World Diabetes Day, 14 November 2011

This year's World Diabetes Day campaign marks the third year of the International Diabetes Federation's five-year focus on diabetes education and prevention. It is also a landmark year for the over 300 million people and their families who are living with diabetes as the United Nations hosted its first-ever High Level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases in September.

As one of the world's most preventable epidemics, this meeting gave diabetes the recognition it deserves. It is hoped that World Diabetes Day observations worldwide will provide the platform to cement the decisions and outcomes that came from the global decision-makers attending this event. It is also hoped that by highlighting the causes and possible prevention strategies, World Diabetes Day will provide the impetus and inspiration for the diabetes community to actualize this year's slogan: Act on Diabetes. Now.

This call to action is for everyone. The burden of diabetes affects us all, not only for those currently living with diabetes but also those who are at risk, healthcare providers with limited resources, employers with concerns about employee wellness and health costs, and governments worldwide with fixed health budgets and increasing costs of care. These costs will definitely be compounded if no action is taken.

I applaud the work of the Public Health Department to mitigate the impact of chronic disease and illness. We can support their work by joining their latest effort -- the Be Fit Cayman Campaign that seeks to raise awareness in the community of chronic disease prevention including diabetes and its management.

If you are still not yet convinced that this is everyone's battle, consider this: Diabetes kills 1 person every 8 seconds - that is 4 million people a year; diabetes causes 1 million amputations annually, costing millions in lost income and productivity; last year, $1 in every $8 spent on healthcare worldwide went to diabetes - a staggering US$378 billion in total; across the world 300 million people are living with diabetes today and that figure will rise to 500 million within a generation; diabetes does not discriminate -- it affects people of all ages, across borders, race and income.

The good news is, we can all act on diabetes and the time is now. Start today and take small steps to a diabetes-free world. It is as simple as taking your family for a walk today!