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The biggest epidemic in human history

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has launched a new consensus statement on diabetes prevention, to be published in the May issue of Diabetic Medicine. It is calling for urgent action to counter the diabetes pandemic, which is threatening to overwhelm global healthcare services.

It follows a December 2006 United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for concerted international action. “The UN resolution is a huge win in the fight against the biggest disease epidemic in human history. Diabetes is responsible for close to four million deaths every year. With 246 million people with diabetes now and 380 million people with diabetes by 2025, diabetes is set to bankrupt national economies,” said Professor Paul Zimmet, Director, International Diabetes Institute and co-author of the consensus.

“Type 2 diabetes can be prevented, but it will take enormous political will on the part of governments to make this a reality. They can achieve this by creating the environment that allows individuals to make lifestyle changes. That is why we are calling on all countries to endorse the UN resolution and to target entire populations through the development and implementation of National Diabetes Prevention Plans.”

The new IDF consensus recommends that all individuals at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes be identified through opportunistic screening by doctors, nurses, pharmacists and through self-screening.