World Health Day to focus on beating diabetes

National 1 minute, 57 seconds


THE World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to focus on diabetes – carrying the tagline ‘Prevent. Treat. Beat diabetes’ – for World Health Day 2016,

Diabetes is a non-communicable disease (NCD) that affects about 350 million people worldwide, including over 90 million adults in the SouthEast Asian region alone.

In 2012, the disease was the direct cause of 1.5 million deaths, WHO said.

Diabetes was the third leading cause of death in Brunei from 2009 to 2014, causing at least 100 deaths in each of these years.

In 2014, the non-communicable disease caused 9.6 per cent of deaths in the country, killing 141 people (84 males and 57 females).

The disease, a chronic metabolic disease characterised by elevated levels of blood glucose, may over time lead to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves, causing chronic problems and early death.

WHO said the prevalence of diabetes has been steadily increasing in the past few decades, bringing about substantial economic loss to people with diabetes and their families, and to health systems and national economies through direct medical costs.

The organisation said that Type 2 diabetes has become the main type of diabetes in adolescents and children, due to a global rise in childhood obesity and physical inactivity.

Type 2 diabetes is also the most common form affecting people in Brunei.

Previous World Diabetes Day awareness campaigns by WHO have placed emphasis on healthy eating, particularly starting one’s day with healthy breakfasts, as the key to preventing and managing diabetes.

According to a Ministry of Health (MoH) nutritionist, examples of a healthy breakfast could be two pieces of whole grain bread with a hard-boiled egg and added salad, or five to six tablespoons of oats with low fat milk, sprinkled with one tablespoon of raisins, or one piece of cut banana.

Those pressed for time could opt for four to five pieces of wholemeal cream crackers topped with low fat cheese instead.

The nutritionist also said that a healthy breakfast should comprise carbohydrates, protein, fibre and good fats, in portion sizes suitable for the body.

According to information posted on its website, WHO will issue its first global report on diabetes in conjunction with World Health Day 2016, which would contain updates on trends in diabetes prevalence and what actions governments are carrying out to prevent and control the disease.

Last year’s World Health Day observance focused on food safety.

The Brunei Times