November 14: World Diabetes Day: Over 800 Iconic Monuments to Light in Blue as Millions M ark World Diabetes Day

November 14: World Diabetes Day

Over 800 Iconic Monuments to Light in Blue as Millions M
ark World Diabetes Day

November 14 marks World Diabetes Day - a global awareness campaign led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) that highlights the diabetes epidemic and aims to bring hope to the 285 million people living with diabetes worldwide.

World Diabetes Day has been celebrated since 1991, when it was first created by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization. It is celebrated each year on 14 November, a date chosen to mark the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who is credited with the discovery of insulin. An official United Nation’s Day, World Diabetes Day is represented by the blue circle logo that is the global symbol of diabetes. This year sees the first of a five-year campaign that addresses the growing need for diabetes education and prevention programmes to tackle diabetes and its life-threatening complications.

The World Diabetes Day campaign aims to establish access to diabetes education as a right for all people with diabetes, to promote greater awareness of the risk factors and warning signs of diabetes, and encourage best-practice sharing in diabetes prevention.

Globe Goes Blue for World Diabetes Day
Throughout the world, over 800 iconic monuments will light in the colour of the diabetes blue circle to help bring the diabetes epidemic to light. The monuments participating in the IDF Blue Monument Challenge include: the Burj al Arab in the United Arab Emirates, the Brandenburger Tor in Germany, Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, the Empire State Building in the USA, Niagara Falls in Canada, the London Eye in the United Kingdom, the Sydney Opera House in Australia, Table Mountain in South Africa, Place de la Concorde in France and Tokyo Tower in Japan.

In addition to the lightings, hundreds of events will take place worldwide to mark the day, from individual acts of celebration to community-based activities. Examples include Desert Dingo Racing taking on Mexico’s gruelling cross-desert Baja 1000 race in the official World Diabetes Day car, and World Diabetes Day champions in the United States calling on people with diabetes worldwide to test their blood sugar at 14:00 hours (local time – irrespective of the time zone) and share the results online.

IDF is encouraging the public to register their support for all people living with diabetes by lighting a virtual candle and by wearing the diabetes blue circle pin. To view activities happening around the world visit

World Diabetes Day Museum
IDF has launched the World Diabetes Day Virtual Museum to display diabetes artwork, photographs, personal stories, campaign material, video and any other artefacts that might help illustrate or explain diabetes themes. The Federation is encouraging people to visit the exhibitions of the 2009 and previous World Diabetes Day celebrations, and to contribute their own artefacts. Visit the museum at

World Diabetes Day – Theme and Goals
IDF’s World Diabetes Day campaign aims to establish access to diabetes education as a right for all people with diabetes, to promote greater awareness of the risk factors and warning signs of diabetes, and encourage best-practice sharing in diabetes prevention. The campaign’s 2009 goal is to “Understand Diabetes and Take Control” and its key messages are: know the diabetes risks and know the warning signs, know how to respond to diabetes and who to turn to, know how to manage diabetes and take control.

“The International Diabetes Federation’s World Diabetes Day campaign aspires to a well-informed world where the myths that surround diabetes are dispelled and a motivated community come together to form a powerful global voice for diabetes advocacy,” said Professor Jean Claude Mbanya, President of the International Diabetes Federation. “The campaign has a responsibility to empower, educate and energize the diabetes community. At the end of the five-year period, the campaign hopes to see important changes in diabetes care, treatment, education and prevention efforts.”

The need to increase diabetes awareness grows ever year with the increasing impact of the disease worldwide. The latest data, recently published by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) in the 4th Edition of the Diabetes Atlas, show that 4 in 5 people with diabetes now live in low and middle-income countries and that the men and women most affected are of working age – the breadwinners of their families. IDF predicts that the total number will exceed 435 million in 2030 if the current rate of growth continues unchecked.

Diabetes now affects seven percent of the world’s adult population and claims four million lives every year. The disease is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and amputation. Diabetes will cost the world economy at least US$376 billion in 2010, or 11.6% of total world healthcare expenditure. By 2030, this number is projected to exceed US$490 billion. More than 80% of diabetes spending is in the world’s richest countries and not in the poorer countries, where over 70 percent of people with diabetes now live.

Diabetes burden by Regions
The regions with the highest comparative prevalence rates are North America, where 10.2% of the adult population have diabetes, followed by the Middle East and North Africa Region with 9.3%. The regions with the highest number of people living with diabetes are Western Pacific, where some 77 million people have diabetes and South East Asia with 59 million.

India is the country with the most people with diabetes, with a current figure of 50.8 million, followed by China with 43.2 million. Behind them come the United States (26.8 million); the Russian Federation (9.6 million); Brazil (7.6 million); Germany (7.5 million); Pakistan (7.1 million); Japan (7.1 million); Indonesia (7 million) and Mexico (6.8 million).

When it comes to the percentage of adult population living with diabetes, the new data reveal the devastating impact of diabetes across the Gulf Region, where five of the Gulf States are among the top ten countries affected. The Pacific island nation of Nauru has the world’s highest rate of diabetes, with almost a third of its adult population (30.9%) living with the disease. It is followed by the United Arab Emirates (18.7%); Saudi Arabia (16.8%); Mauritius (16.2%); Bahrain (15.4%); Reunion (15.3%); Kuwait (14.6%); Oman (13.4%); Tonga (13.4%) and Malaysia (11.6%).

“The world cannot afford to lose the battle against diabetes. We need to stop people before they start the diabetes journey. For those already living with diabetes, we need to ensure that they receive effective diabetes care and education to help them manage their disease,” said Prof. Mbanya. “We have a collective responsibility to make sure that accidents of geography and history do not determine who should live or die. We have to act today to make a difference for people with diabetes tomorrow.”

The World Diabetes Day campaign can be followed online at;; Facebook- and

Published in:
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