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Diabetes and Obesity – A Global Problem
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: To prevent type 2 diabetes, IDF promotes the regular screening of people who are overweight or have a first degree relative with type 2 diabetes and ethnic high–risk groups as well as everyone over 65 years. IDF also advocates taking the following practical steps to prevent the development of diabetes and obesity from childhood: IDF encourages those with responsibility for the provision of healthcare services to guarantee that all steps are taken to ensure that these measures are met. Governments can make a significant contribution by encouraging lifestyle changes and investing in health programmes. However, a comprehensive approach is needed to tackle the global epidemic of diabetes and obesity successfully. IDF therefore promotes the active collaboration of member associations, public health authorities, the pharmaceutical industry and the food and drinks industry to achieve the best possible results in tackling the dual, overlapping problems of diabetes and obesity.