It’s easy when you work for and live in the world of the American Diabetes Association to think that diabetes is an American problem.
We are constantly repeating the statistics of diabetes in America. Yet, this is what I know: diabetes is a global problem with 415 million adults living with it on a daily basis all over the world.
For this reason and many more it was great to be with the world wide diabetes community this past week at the World Diabetes Congress hosted by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) in Vancouver, Canada. It was my first time attending an IDF meeting since becoming the CEO of the American Diabetes Association.
Over the course of the week, we welcomed new members into the global federation, talked about the latest research and data, and encouraged one another to keep fighting the good fight against diabetes.
It was also a chance for leaders like myself to connect with those in the pharmaceutical and business community to talk about the priorities of the American Diabetes Association on research, patient outcomes, and health and wellness. It also provided us an opportunity to dream together about how we might partner to better the lives of those living with diabetes each day.
One of my favorite parts of the meeting came on Monday as the Congress began. It was fascinating to be in a room with so many scientists, medical professionals and thought leaders and discuss the greatest issues facing those living with diabetes in our respective countries. To hear perspectives from places as unique from one another as Tanzania, Australia and Korea was inspiring. While our access and use of resources to treat and prevent diabetes may not be the same, we all share the same passion. Despite the the American Diabetes Association being regarded as a global leader in diabetes, there was still much to learn from our global counterparts.
One of the big reveals of the week was the 7th edition of the Diabetes Atlas. This volume shares the latest stats of how diabetes is a global problem. For example, here are the highlights:
By 2040, 1 in 10 adults worldwide will have diabetes. This will be 642 million people.
Every 6 seconds currently, a person dies from diabetes globally.
1 in 7 births is affected by gestational diabetes.
If data like this is not a wake-up call, I don’t know what will be one!
I returned home from Vancouver all the more energized and motivated to the tasks at hand. There’s so much work to do and it needs all of our attention. For all of us who care about world health concerns we must wake up to the fact that diabetes must be a focal point of not only American healthcare policy, but it should be given the world’s attention because diabetes truly is a disease a part of so many households worldwide.