By: Kristin Lund
World Diabetes Day is a global awareness campaign that’s celebrated every year on November 14. The goal is to encourage action to further the prevention, treatment, and care of diabetes, as well as to support the United Nations Resolution on Diabetes. Landmarks and monuments across the world are lit in blue to create a united voice for diabetes awareness, and diabetes events are held around the globe. As of Monday evening, November 9, the World Diabetes Day website reports that 366 registered diabetes events are scheduled for November 14th, in countries ranging from Saudi Arabia to Argentina to Morocco. In addition, 623 monuments are being lit in blue around the globe. More are sure to be added to the list as the day draws closer and closer.
The U.N. Resolution on Diabetes focuses world attention on the need to stop the diabetes epidemic through urgent action. Governments need to promote low-cost strategies that alter diet, increase physical activity, and modify lifestyles in order to reverse the diabetes tide. According to the California Diabetes Program (DIRC) website, “For governments, [World Diabetes Day] is a call to implement effective strategies and policies for the prevention and management of diabetes to safeguard the health of their citizens with and at risk for diabetes.”
The DIRC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have suggestions on how communities can help stop the epidemic, including increasing access to affordable healthy food and beverages. We need to advocate to:
- Make healthy food and beverages more available and affordable and restrict availability of less healthy foods and beverages in public places such as schools, government buildings, libraries, and parks
- Increase the number of grocery stores in low-income neighborhoods
- Improve mechanisms for purchasing foods directly from local farms
- Offer incentives to retailers to offer healthy food and beverage options
- Limit advertising of less healthy foods and beverages
- Encourage smaller portion sizes by food vendors
- Discourage consumptions of sugar-sweetened beverages
Educate someone you know about the risks of diabetes
If you are unable to attend a World Diabetes Day event or to witness a monument or building being lit in blue, you can honor the day by educating someone else about the risks of diabetes. They are, according to the DIRC:
- Family history of diabetes
- Increasing age
- Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle
- History of diabetes during pregnancy or giving birth to a large baby
- Having high blood pressure or high cholesterol
Everyone can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by:
- Eating right
- Losing weight if needed
- Seeing your healthcare provider
- Getting your eyes checked
Because the Diabetes Health offices are located in California, which has the highest population of all 50 states, we thought we would tell you what’s happening here on November 14th. Tami MacAller of DIRC told us about a few of the events planned in California. Find out about more California events. (If you are not in California, find out about events in your area by visiting the World Diabetes Day website.)
Lighting the State Capitol Building
This year, a collaboration of concerned organizations (including the California Department of Public Health, California Diabetes Program, American Diabetes Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and VSP Vision Care) has convinced the State Legislature and the Office of the Governor to light the California State Capitol blue for World Diabetes Day on November 14th at 5:30 p.m.
Receiving permission to light the State Capitol blue from the state government is a true testament to diabetes’ extraordinary cost to our community and the commitment that we must universally have to control this epidemic. A request of the Governor has been made to Proclaim and Recognize November 14 as World Diabetes Day in California.
Grace Ceron and Genevieve Foster FNP, CDE, of Petaluma, are organizing local participation in World Diabetes Day. The goal of Petaluma’s first World Diabetes Day event is to plant a small seed of community education and involvement related to diabetes and healthy living. Participants in this collaborative event will come together at 11:00 a.m. for a special ceremony and to form a human circle to show our unity in making a difference in the fight against diabetes. Join this noncompetitive, free event, ” Walk in Awareness of Diabetes,” on Saturday, November 14, 2009, from 10:00 a.m, to 12 Noon at Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility , 3890 Cypress Drive, Petaluma, CA 94954. More information can be found on the DIRC website.
Make World Diabetes Day Go Viral in the USA: Visit World Diabetes Day in the USA at www.wddusa.com
San Francisco Ferry Building going blue for World Diabetes Day
On November 14, 2009, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m ., the JDRF, Close Concerns, and Diabetes Hands Foundation has organized a ceremony to observe the lighting of the San Francisco Ferry Building in blue. The event will be held in the park between the Ferry Building and Embarcadero One in San Francisco.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Lights up for Diabetes
The LAX series of 100-foot-high colorfully lit Gateway pylons are the most well-known example of public art in Los Angeles and are visible to airline passengers from 3,000 feet high. The pylons are lit from dusk to dawn daily. In response to the request by the Coastal Area of Southern California Association of Diabetes Educators (CASCADE), LAX will recognize World Diabetes Day on November 14, 2009, by lighting the pylons blue.
There are World Diabetes Day events all around the world this Saturday. Take your family out to an event or to watch a monument being lit in blue. Do your part and get involved!
* * *