From the World Diabetes Day Website:
Celebrate the first United Nations observed World Diabetes Day
On December 20 2006, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed a landmark Resolution recognizing diabetes as a chronic, debilitating and costly disease. The Resolution designates World Diabetes Day as a United Nations Day to be observed every year starting in 2007.
The UN Resolution makes World Diabetes Day stronger than ever and provides the opportunity for a significant increase in the visibility of the campaign and an increase in government and media participation on or around November 14. The Resolution will ensure even greater reach for awareness-raising activities throughout the diabetes world.
Diabetes in Children and Adolescents
The theme of this year's World Diabetes Day campaign is Diabetes in Children and Adolescents.Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. It can strike children at any age, including pre-school children and even toddlers. Yet diabetes in children is often diagnosed late, when the child has diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), or it is misdiagnosed completely. In many parts of the world, insulin, the main life-saving medication that children with diabetes need to survive, is not available (or is available but remains inaccessible for reasons of economy, geography or constraints on supply). As a consequence, many children die of diabetes, particularly in low and middle-income countries. Those closest to the child - family, school staff, family doctor - may not be aware of the ominous signs. The World Diabetes Day 2007 and 2008 campaigns set out to challenge this and firmly establish the message that ‘no child should die of diabetes'.
Today, more than 240 million people worldwide are living with diabetes. Within 20 years, this number is expected to grow to 380 million. Children are not spared from this global epidemic, with its debilitating and life-threatening complications. Type 1 diabetes is growing by 3% per year in children and adolescents, and at an alarming 5% per year among pre-school children. It is estimated that 70,000 children under 15 develop type 1 diabetes each year (almost 200 children a day). Of the estimated 440,000 cases of type 1 diabetes in children worldwide, more than a quarter live in South-East Asia, and more than a fifth in Europe. Type 2 diabetes was once seen as a disease of adults. Today, this type of diabetes is growing at alarming rates in children and adolescents. In the US, it is estimated that type 2 diabetes represents between 8 and 45% of new-onset diabetes cases in children depending on geographic location. Over a 20-year period, type 2 diabetes has doubled in children in Japan, so that it is now more common than type 1. In native and aboriginal children in North America and Australia, the prevalence rate of type 2 diabetes ranges from 1.3 to 5.3%.
Diabetes is different for children
Diabetes has a unique impact on children and their families. The daily life of children is disrupted by the need to monitor blood glucose levels, take medication, and balance the effect of activity and food. Diabetes can interfere with the normal developmental tasks of childhood and adolescence, which include succeeding in school and transitioning to adulthood. To help the child and family cope, and to ensure the best possible physical and emotional health of the child, care should be delivered by a multidisciplinary team with good knowledge of paediatric issues. Support must also be given to caregivers and to school personnel. In this way, children with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can reach adulthood with as little adverse impact as possible on their well-being. For children with diabetes in developing countries the situation at present is bleak.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of the rising prevalence of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents. Early diagnosis and early education are crucial to reducing complications and saving lives. The healthcare community, educators, parents and guardians must join forces to help children living with diabetes, prevent the condition in those at risk, and avoid unnecessary death and disability.