With the slogan: “Diabetes: let’s protect our future”, World Diabetes Day was observed on November 14, focusing on the importance of health education and awareness to prevent diabetes in the upcoming generation of children and adolescents.
For several years now, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been stressing the importance of providing a safe environment in which children can grow with the least possible exposure to risk factors which can impact negatively on health. However, there is evidence that such exposures are in fact increasing.
Children are targeted by powerful marketing campaigns prompting them to consume food items with no nutritional value and with quantities of sugar and fat that far surpass their physiological needs. These campaigns include flooding school canteens and vending outlets with harmful food items, and conducting intense marketing through the mass media, just as levels of physical activity are plummeting even among younger children.
This combination of unhealthy behaviours has led to rising levels of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents. Early weight increase, in turn, is the most powerful risk factor for diabetes at younger ages and suffer serious complications.
The seriousness of the disease clearly justifies intense efforts for education and prevention as early as possible, to protect children from entering a vicious circle which disrupts and shortens life.
WHO has called on all nations to set up regulatory policies and to establish life-skills programmes to protect children, improve their knowledge and awareness and train them to acquire habits that will allow them to successfully avoid diabetes and several other serious noncommunicable diseases.
Source: World Health Organisation