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High number of diabetics causes alarm.

An awareness campaign against diabetes organized by Ministry of Health in Dahran. (SPA)

Riyadh: Abdul Hannan Tago

The Saudi National Statistics organization (SNS) has estimated that the number of people with diabetes in Saudi Arabia currently stands at 1.1 million among men, of whom 546,000 are on medication and the remaining 275,000 patients are in a critical condition. Among women, the survey revealed that 775,000 diabetics today are female, of whom only 356,000 take medication, while 196,000 others are severely ill, as their diabetes said to be uncontrolled. "It is clear that rapid and constant socio-economic changes, including an increase in the proportion of urban lifestyles, are resulting in a sharp rise in the prevalence of diabetes and obesity. From rising wealth and increasing consumption, to more sedentary lifestyles and a distinct lack of knowledge about diabetes and its impact upon people present a challenge to our national health", according to Vikrant Shrotiya, general manager of the Danish health care company 'Novo Nordisk'. According to Shrotiya, Novo Nordisk has more than 90 years of innovation and leadership in health care systems, and is changing the course of diabetes education worldwide. "As a company, we take pride in not only offering excellent products, but also in working in the area of awareness, advocacy, research and other possible solutions to reduce the burden of diabetes," he said. Globally, according to the study, by 2035 more than half a billion people will have diabetes worldwide. Nowhere will the devastating impact of this disease be felt more than in urban areas, since two thirds of all people with diabetes live in urban cities. Shrotiya noted that the Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH), in collaboration with organizations such as Novo Nordisk and the National Diabetes Center, are advocating strongly for the emergence of a collective fight against urban diabetes, by urging urbanites to lead healthy lifestyle that involve a balanced diet and regular exercise. He further urged urbanites to "act today in order to save tomorrow." To commemorate World Diabetes Day (WDD), Novo Nordisk in collaboration with the MOH are organizing a diabetes awareness event to be held at King Abdullah Public Park in Malaz on Thursday. This Village will run for three days in order to generate awareness about Diabetes and its impact in every day life. Shrotiya added, "there should be no doubt that urban diabetes is an emergency in slow motion, however, let us be clear that it is not simply an inevitable phenomenon. We can stop diabetes affecting people's lives and as we mark WDD today, by calling on governments, organizations and individuals to work together to fight the issue together." WDD was founded by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1991 to raise awareness about the prevalence and risks of diabetes to the attention of both individuals and organizations around the world. "I think this day should act as a wake-up call for everyone, at a time when prevalence is rising and health care budgets are under pressure," Shrotiya said. With regard to physical activity, the recent survey found that nearly half of Saudi females do not engage in physical activity at all, while 29 percent of them are engaged in light physical activity. Additionally, the percentage of males who do not engage in any physical activity at all is 33 percent, with an additional 33 percent only engaged in light physical activities, which is a cause for further concern as WDD is commemorated again this year.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Nov 12, 2014
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