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World Health Day sees WHO call for improved diets

Thursday 14th April 2016
WHO is calling for healthier diets amid the global increase in type 2 diabetes. Image: iStock/dolgachov
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To concincide with World Health Day that took place on 7th April, the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for people across the globe to adopt healthier diets.

This is in light of the fact that statistics show the number of adults living with diabetes worldwide has nearly quadrupled since 1980, with 422 million diagnosed with either the type 1 or type 2 form of the disease, equating to 8.5 per cent of the total population.

WHO believes this significant increase is due to the rise in the number of overweight and obese people around the world. The data showed that one in three over-18s is now classed as overweight, while one in ten are obese.

Dr Margaret Chan, director-general of WHO, commented: "If we are to make any headway in halting the rise in diabetes, we need to rethink our daily lives: to eat healthily, be physically active and avoid excessive weight gain.

"Even in the poorest settings, governments must ensure that people are able to make these healthy choices and that health systems are able to diagnose and treat people with diabetes."

What's more, the WHO data showed that 1.5 million people died due to diabetes-related complications in 2012 alone, with high blood sugar levels contributing to an additional 2.2 million deaths during that year. High blood glucose can place people at a greater risk of developing heart disease and other cardiovascular problems, potentially shortening their lives.

Diabetic patients are also ten to 20 times more likely to require a lower limb amputation, and they have a 43 per cent increased risk of dying before the age of 70.

In a bid to dramatically reduce these figures, WHO is urging healthcare authorities to focus more on promoting healthy lifestyles to the general public, educating people about the best food choices. The organisation is hoping this increased awareness will lead to earlier detection of health complications, allowing people to access any treatment they may require as soon as possible, potentially lowering the death rate as a result.

Written by Martin Lambert

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