WORLD DIABETES DAY 2015
THEME: HALTING THE DIABETES EPIDEMIC THROUGH HEALTHY EATING.
World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and World Health Organization (WHO) in response to growing concerns about the increasing threat that diabetes poses and to serve as advocacy and awareness day to be celebrated officially on November 14th yearly. World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations Day in 2007 with the passage of the United Nations Resolution 61/225. The campaign draws attention to issues of paramount importance to people living with Diabetes and creates global awareness to put diabetes in public spotlight. At the 68th World Health Assembly, precisely May 19th in Geneva, Switzerland, the International Diabetes Federation launched this year’s theme. Work has been ongoing in different parts of the globe towards creating awareness with major events on the November 14th.
The theme of this years’ campaign is “Halting the Diabetes Epidemic through Healthy Eating”. It has been shown scientifically, that the outcome of our blood glucose values is based on what we eat, how and when we eat. The greatest discipline one can exercise is that over food choice. The various foods we eat are mostly classified into carbohydrates, proteins, Fat and vitamins. These food classes have different rates of digestion and this must be considered in making healthy meal choices and meal plan for a good blood glucose control over time. Carbohydrates generally takes about 4 hours to digest, proteins about 8 hours and fats takes a longer period of over 10 hours the knowledge of this timing will help one decide when and what to eat as the day goes on. One of the essence of this year’s theme is to educate on the importance of using healthy food to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes and to as well manage other types of diabetes to avoid health complications.The global community is taking the campaign on Diabetes awareness seriously, especially considering the fact that next years’ World Health Day will feature Diabetes Strongly. We all need to work together as stake holders to halt Diabetes epidemic.
Importance of meal plan:A balanced meal plan is important for everyone. If you are living with diabetes, eating balanced meals and snacks is even more important. Food is an important tool that you can use to control diabetes and stay healthy. Carbohydrate counting adds variety to your meals and still allows you to control your blood glucose. Ask a registered dietitian how carbohydrate counting can be incorporated into your lifestyle.
Eating a balanced meal plan can help you:
- Control blood glucose (sugar) levels
- Control cholesterol levels
- Control blood pressure
- Maintain a healthy weight or reduce your weight, if you are overweight
- Prevent low blood glucose reactions (hypoglycemic reactions).
- Reduce the risk of health complications caused by diabetes.
Tips to plan a balanced diet.You will need to plan the amount of foods that you eat with a registered dietitian or other qualified health care provider (Diabetes Educator). Together, you can develop an eating plan that is right for you. This plan will be based on such factors as :
- Blood glucose levels
- Cholesterol and triglyceride (a type of blood fat) levels
- Blood pressure levels
- BMI (body mass index)
- Activity level
- Amount and type of any medications you are taking.
How much salt can I eat while living with Diabetes?You only need a small amount of salt to meet your nutrient requirements. Most people eat more than 2 times as much salt as they need. This added salt can contribute to higher blood pressure, which can cause heart disease. People with diabetes already have a higher risk of getting high blood pressure.
To reduce salt in your diet, cut back on table salt and eat fewer:
- Canned foods, especially soups and vegetables
- Frozen and boxed mixes for potatoes, rice, and pasta
- Ketchup, mustards, salad dressings, and other spreads and canned sauces
- Salty snack foods
- Processed foods, such as luncheon meats, sausage, bacon, and ham
- Foods marked "sodium-free," "low sodium" or "unsalted"
- Herbs and spices to flavor foods instead of salt
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Check with your healthcare provider before using salt substitutes containing potassium.
Useful tips on food choices for people living with Diabetes
- Eat foods rich in fiber (20 to 35 grams per day). Good sources of fiber are cooked and dried beans; whole grain breads, cereals, and crackers; fresh fruits and vegetables, and; bran products.
- Eat less fat. Since people with diabetes have a greater risk of developing heart disease, eating meals lower in fat may help lower your risk for heart disease.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can make it more difficult for you to control your blood glucose levels.
In the words of Dr. Petra Wilson, CEO, International Diabetes Federation, “We need to educate children, parents and ourselves to eat healthily and face the multiplayer challenge that diabetes represents”. Dietitians and Nutritionists needs to work alongside other members of the diabetes management team to engage the person living with diabetes necessary tools to make informed choices on healthy eating.
- Nutrition Recommendations and Interventions for Diabetes. A position statement of the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 2008; Vol 31 (S1) S 61-78.
- The Evidence for Medical Nutrition Therapy for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes in Adults. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010;110:1852-1889.
3. WHO. Diabetes Program 2012. Available from: http://www.who.int/diabetes/ en/.
- WHO Africa Office. The challenge of diabetes by 2030, Port-Louis, 13 November 2009. Available from: http://www.afro.who.int/.
Isaac Y. Akogu
Expert Trainer (Diabetes Conversations Map TM).