World Diabetes Day (WDD) is celebrated every year on November 14. The World Diabetes Day campaign is led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and its member associations. It engages millions of people worldwide in diabetes advocacy and awareness. World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat that diabetes now poses. 

Linda Tilton, RD, CDE, is a clinical dietician, clinical nutritionist, and certified diabetes educator at Fletcher Allen Health Care.

Linda Tilton, RD, CDE, is a clinical dietician, clinical nutritionist, and certified diabetes educator at Fletcher Allen Health Care.

World Diabetes Day is on November 14. That day was chosen to commemorate the birthday of Frederick Banting, a Canadian physician who, along with American biomedical researcher Charles Best, co-discovered insulin in 1921, which, nearly 100 years later, remains the only treatment for type 1 diabetes and is often used to treat type 2 diabetes.

The International Diabetes Federation estimates that 382 million people are currently living with diabetes worldwide. In addition, 316 million people are currently at high risk of developing the disease, with the number expected to increase to almost 500 million within a generation. Many people with type 2 diabetes are undiagnosed and, therefore, have not had the opportunity to receive medical treatment or make lifestyle changes to improve their health. Most cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented and the serious complications of diabetes can be avoided through healthy lifestyles.

Each year on November 14 diabetes awareness is promoted with educational messages that feature the symbol of a blue circle. The circle symbolizes life and health while the color blue reflects the sky, which unites all nations and also represents the flag of the United Nations. This symbol promotes unity in the fight against diabetes and limiting the devastating global health and financial impact of the disease.

World Diabetes Day features a theme chosen by the International Diabetes Federation each year to address issues facing the global diabetes community. World Diabetes Day 2014 begins a three-year education effort by the International Diabetes Federation to promote healthy living for people with diabetes. Healthy food choices and lifestyle modifications, including weight management and regular physical activity, are important in the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes and also reduce the risk of developing serious complications of diabetes.

In 2014, the focus is on healthy eating and the importance of healthy food choices. You can participate in World Diabetes Day by:

  • Going blue for breakfastRaise awareness of the importance of a healthy and balanced diet for the prevention and management of diabetes by organizing a healthy breakfast event.
  • Joining the Blue Monument Challenge by lighting iconic monuments and buildings in your country in blue.
  • Forming a human blue circle: A simple activity with a great visual impact that can be organized as an individual activity or as part of a bigger event.
  • Taking a blue circle selfie: Promote the global diabetes symbol in a fun way by taking a blue circle selfie with our free blue circle app. Your imagination is the limit!
  • Organizing a physical activity event: Walk, cycle ride, aerobic workout, hula hooping, flash mob or dancing.
  • Wearing blue throughout November and asking your friends, family, and colleagues to join you.
  • Promoting the campaign among your Facebook and Twitter friends.

These topics will be addressed in an upcoming blog articles during the month of November. Please join me in wearing blue on Friday November 14 to raise diabetes awareness, and engage in education about the disease and about healthy living for people with diabetes.

Linda Tilton, MS, RD, CDE, is a Clinical Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator at Fletcher Allen Health Care. In 2013, Fletcher Allen earned national certification in diabetes education. Learn more about Fletcher Allen’s Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nutrition practice. Linda is also the coordinating board chair for the Vermont Association of Diabetes Educators.

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