The World Health Organisation estimates that by 2030 diabetes will be the seventh most common cause of death in the world. Right now there are an estimated 347 million people around the world with the condition. In Australia 280 people develop diabetes every day, there are an estimated 120,000 people with type 1 diabetes, 956,000 people with type 2 diabetes, and a further 750,000 people with type 2 diabetes who donâ€™t know they have it. These statistics underline why diabetes is a growing health concern and it is why there is a movement to develop a network of diabetes aware cities.
The new plan comes from the International Diabetes Federation in combination with the European Connected Health Alliance. These two groups have come up with a notion that they will officially launch on World Diabetes Day 2014, November 14th. The aim is to create a global network of cities that are â€œdiabetes awareâ€.
The rationale is that urban living is highly conducive to developing diabetes. For a city to be designated â€œdiabetes awareâ€ they will have to satisfy a number of criteria and demonstrate that they understand both the challenges faced by people with diabetes and those at risk of developing it.
To be a â€œdiabetes aware cityâ€ a city will need to show integration between government, business, and individuals. For instance businesses will need to provide nutritional information in restaurants and governments will need to ensure that green spaces for exercise are available, accessible, and safe. Cities will also need to make use of technology to provide people with mobile information healthier lifestyle options.
A working group is drawing up the scheme but it is obvious that the steps to make a city qualify as â€œdiabetes awareâ€ will also make that city â€œhealth awareâ€. It is a time and opportunity for everyone to contribute to making the place they live a healthier one for everybody.