World Health Day 2016 raises awareness of diabetes

The World Health Organization celebrates World Health Day today, April 7. This year it has chosen to focus on the prevention and treatment of diabetes. Physiotherapists have a role to play in the management and prevention of type 2 diabetes through proper exercise prescription.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 350 million people have diabetes worldwide and 90% of those cases are type 2 diabetes. Reports of type 2 diabetes in children is also on the rise. Diabetes has become a major cause of premature illness and death, accounting for 1.5 million deaths in 2012. A large majority of those deaths occurred in developing countries.

World Health Day 2016 is calling on countries and communities to increase awareness of the health and economic impacts of diabetes and to improve prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care for people with diabetes. Check out the many ways that you can get involved.

How can physiotherapists improve the prevention and treatment of diabetes?

Through exercise prescription, of course! The WHO states that thirty minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and a healthy diet can drastically reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

We’ve also written about the effects of moderate versus high-intensity exercise on the physical fitness and physical function of people with type 2 diabetes here. Gestational diabetes mellitus is another form of diabetes, and we’ve written a story about prenatal exercise in women at risk of GDM here. Nutrition plays a big role in the prevention and management of diabetes, and there’s an argument to be made for physiotherapists to consider the implications of nutrition in combating inflammation.

How have you managed patients with diabetes or who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes? Have you also provided nutritional advice? Let us know in the comments section below!

Read about type 2 diabetes on Physiopedia

10 Facts about diabetes by the WHO