World Diabetes Day

Tomorrow is World Diabetes Day, an event supported by the International Diabetes Federation. If you check the map shown here, you’ll see that we in North America have the highest percentage of diabetes sufferers in the world: 11.4%. We spent 310 billion dollars last year on diabetes — more than all the other regions of the world combined. And yet it’s estimated that nearly 1/3 of Americans with diabetes don’t know it yet; most diabetics aren’t diagnosed until they already suffer from one or more complications of diabetes.

A healthy lifestyle could prevent as much as 70% of cases of Type 2 diabetes, and make Type 1 diabetes more manageable, too. Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include smoking, high cholesterol, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and high blood pressure.

Here are the foods the World Diabetes Federation recommends for preventing diabetes:

  • leafy vegetables
  • fresh fruit
  • whole grains
  • lean meat
  • unsweetened yogurt
  • nuts

They suggest making these foods the centerpiece of meals for all ages, and not just for people who already have diabetes. “Encouraging healthy eating habits in young children is key to halting the rise of the diabetes epidemic,” the organization says in their message for World Diabetes Day 2015.

World Diabetes Day is also a day to work toward access to healthy food for everyone. Here are some of the efforts being made in Arkansas:

Want to learn more? Ask your doctor if you should be tested for diabetes, and visit the World Diabetes Day website to see how you can help increase awareness.