14 November 2004
Obesity and diabetes currently threaten the health, well–being and economic welfare of virtually every country in the world. According to recent estimates of the International Obesity TaskForce, up to 1.7 billion people of the world’s population are at a heightened risk of weight–related, non–communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes. IDF predicts that the number of people with diabetes will rise from 194 million today to more than 333 million by 2025 . Type 2 diabetes accounts for over 90% of diabetes cases, and the rise in type 2 diabetes appears to be mainly related to the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity worldwide. Furthermore, the rising level of childhood obesity worldwide and the subsequent onset of type 2 diabetes have profound implications for the future. Since obesity and diabetes represent one of the biggest public health challenges of the 21st century, IDF has adopted the following position, in line with the recommendations of the World Health Assembly of May 2004:
- All–embracing strategies focusing on prevention and education at every level must be designed.
- Healthy dietary patterns need to be encouraged at an early age.
- Physical activity should form a central part of both childhood and adult lifestyles.
- Clear food labelling and a reduction in portion size are crucial factors in encouraging a healthy diet.
- Children should be protected from advertising, which promotes inappropriate (and unnecessary) consumption of energy dense (high calorie) food and drink.
- Creation of suitable footpaths, designed tracks and road schemes that allow safe walking, cycling and the use of play areas around the home and school.
- Change in school curriculum to encourage children to participate in sports and physical activity.
- Implement policies to control access to energy dense food and drinks, whether at home, on the way to school or at school itself.
- A ban on all forms of marketing of foods and drinks directed at children at school and on radio, TV and other avenues.
- Simple and understandable displays of the composition and energy density in all eating establishments.
- Monitoring food consumption patterns and the prevalence of diabetes in the population.