More than two billion people are overweight or obese globally. Obesity and poor diet are major drivers of a number of NCDs including cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. What’s more, preventable diseases have disproportionate impact in low-and middle-income countries where 80% of NCD deaths occur. This problem has a particular impact among women, for whom diabetes also increases the risk of an early miscarriage or birth defects. Worldwide, 199 million women live with diabetes, and that figure is projected to grow to 313 million women by 2040.
Today on World Diabetes Day, we join the International Diabetes Federation and other partners to raise awareness and accelerate progress on the diabetes epidemic and the spread of obesity around the world. This year’s theme of World Diabetes Day is “Women and Diabetes – Our Right to a Healthy Future.”
To combat diabetes and the other NCDs linked to obesity, Vital Strategies has partnered with local institutions to create impactful obesity prevention initiatives, often focusing on the healthy choices families can make to reduce sugar consumption. By pairing local commitment for policy change with our team of global experts in strategic communication, policy advocacy and research we work to inspire lasting change with our obesity prevention initiatives. Vital Strategies recently launched two new campaigns of this sort in Brazil and Colombia that promise to save many lives from obesity and its accompanying NCDs.
Our new Brazilian mass media campaign, entitled “Você Tem O Direito De Saber O Que Come” (“You have the right to know what you eat”), launched in the beginning of November. The campaign is built around a 30-second public service announcement (PSA) developed by Aliança pela Alimentação Adequada e Saudável (The Alliance for an Adequate and Healthy Diet) with assistance from Vital Strategies. The ad calls for people to make healthier choices and support measures for clear, accurate information about food and beverages, Including accurate labelling. The PSA also focuses on the importance of restricting junk food marketing directed towards kids.
Around the same time, we launched another campaign in Colombia, “No comas más mentiras ni se las des a tus hijos” (“Don’t Eat More Lies and Don’t Serve Them To Your Kids”). The campaign brings attention to a petition calling for restrictions on junk food marketing to children. In recent years, obesity has started growing rapidly among children under the age of five, an alarming trend that threatens to leave many young people with serious health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, with chronic conditions from childhood.
The rise in obesity around the world will continue to make diabetes an increasingly urgent public health concern without taking action. Reversing weight trends, particularly in children, is essential to fighting this epidemic. Through Vital Strategies’ support for these new campaigns in Brazil and Colombia, and others like them, we are taking part in fighting the global spike in diabetes by fighting its root cause—obesity.