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World Diabetes Day is 14 November 2013

2e1ax_polish_entry_diabetes600Message from Minister of Health, Sports, Youth, and Culture The Hon. Osbourne Bodden

World Diabetes Day 14 November 2013

Diabetes is one of the world’s most preventable epidemics. This year as we observe World Diabetes Day, around the globe 371 million people and their families are living with diabetes. Another 280 million are at high risk of developing the disease.

If this is not alarming enough, half a billion people are expected to be living with diabetes by 2030, according to the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization.

The local perspective is also a cause for concern. The Health Services Authority (HSA) is currently treating approximately 2,000 diabetic patients. Health officials estimate that an equal number is receiving care through private practitioners.

UnknownThis is corroborated by the Chronic Disease Risk Factor Survey completed in 2012, in which 10 % of adults aged 25-64 years, reported having been diagnosed with diabetes. This amounts to 3,500 people.

There may be many others unaware that they have the disease.  I urge every adult to get diabetes checks done, as recommended by their health practitioners.

The Chronic Disease Risk Factor Survey showed that our adult population consumes an average 2.8 servings of fruits vegetables a day. This is below the minimum daily recommendation of five servings of fruit and vegetables.

Furthermore, slightly less than half of our adult population (47.9 %) engages in high levels of physical activity such as running, fast cycling and participating in competitive sports.

Inactivity and improper diet are two major risk factors for the onset of diabetes.

Given the close connection between unhealthy lifestyles and type 2 diabetes, these statistics illustrate why the fight against this disease is central to the well-being of our small community.

Accordingly it is fitting that annually, every 14 November, we join the international community in raising awareness about diabetes-related issues.  

The theme of this year’s international event, “Diabetes: protect our future”, suggests how important it is that we turn the tide of diabetes to protect our future, our people and our country. 

Government realises the challenge that the community faces in motivating as many Caymanians and residents as possible to incorporate physical activity and healthy eating habits into their daily routines.

As such we are committed to supporting the primary health care initiatives underway within the Public Health Department and the Cayman Islands Diabetes Association.

Their capacity building strategies will help our people to achieve their health goals. I particularly encourage diabetics and their families to take advantage of the upcoming diabetes education course on 27 and 28 November.

Additionally, we will continue to work with other ministries, agencies and departments to create an environment that supports the healthy lifestyle choices.

My ministry is also committed to supporting the development of workplace wellness programmes in our Islands.

It is easier than we think to get moving and the rewards are limitless.  Much of the solution to the dilemma of diabetes is within our grasp; we all have a role to play and must recognise that the time is now.

On this World Diabetes Day, let us all “take a step for diabetes”, and help to protect the future of the Cayman Islands and the world.


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