Over recent years, lifestyle changes and the widening availability of cheap, energy dense, low-nutrient food, have led to a skyrocketing of type 2 diabetes cases, in particular amongst people of working age. In Europe the number of people with diabetes has now reached 52 million around 6% of the population.

Diabetes in Europe is costly, US$ 144 billion is spent on diabetes, a quarter of the total money spent on diabetes worldwide. However, one person in three with diabetes still has not been diagnosed leaving them at risk of developing serious diabetes complications including eye and heart disease.

Despite the worrying statistics, investing in simple, cost-effective steps like a healthy breakfast can reduce the global burden of diabetes, and save billions in lost productivity and healthcare costs. The World Diabetes Day 2014 campaign highlights the crucial role played by healthy eating in the management and prevention of diabetes. 

By simply adopting healthy lifestyles, over 70% of type 2 diabetes cases can be prevented or delayed. In addition to this, nations could save up to 11% of total healthcare expenditure by tackling preventable risk factors of type 2 diabetes such as unhealthy diets. IDF’s recommendations for components of a healthy diet include leafy vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains, lean meat, fish and nuts. 

On November 14, we ask governments to remember the commitments made at the World Health Assembly in 2013 to ‘halt the rise in diabetes’. We demand they ensure optimal nutrition policies are in place to allow for affordable and healthy food choices. And we would remind governments that these choices will improve the health and wellbeing of their citizens and their economies, as well as ensuring a prosperous future.