Musings: World Health Day

Today’s topic is: “World Health Day! This year’s focus is on diabetes.”

Every April 7th, the World Health Organization celebrates World Health Day by highlighting an important global health concern. Previous years included Control your Blood Pressure (2013), Small Bite, Big Threat: mosquitos, flies, and ticks (2014), and How Safe is Your Food? (2015).

This year, the global pandemic of diabetes is center-stage. (I know that ‘pandemic’ is supposed to be used for an infectious disease, and I know that diabetes isn’t infectious, but I couldn’t find a word for its non-infectious counterpart. Please share if you know of one.) You can read the WHO’s global report on diabetes here.

  • Worldwide, 422 million people are living with diabetes, mainly in middle- and low-income countries.
  • Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke, and lower limb amputation.
  • Almost half of all deaths attributable to high blood glucose occur before the age of 70 years.
    ~ ~

With a family history of diabetes and the concern about developing gestational diabetes when I was pregnant, this quiet disease resonates loudly with me. Therefore, I’m putting my efforts towards prevention now, instead of treatment later.

Prevent Diabetes


Simple lifestyle measures have been shown to be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes. To help prevent type 2 diabetes and its complications, people should:

  • avoid tobacco use – smoking increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases;
  • achieve and maintain healthy body weight;
  • be physically active – at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days. More activity is required for weight control; and
  • eat a healthy diet, avoiding sugar and saturated fats intake.

~ ~

I’m happy to report that I’ve never been a smoker. Check.

I’ve permanently returned to my pre-pregnancy weight and been able to maintain it for more than a year already. Check.

Since my monthly resolution for April is to do at least 10,000 steps a day, I’m making the extra effort to be physically active. So far I’m 3-3, but I’m on an improving trend. Check-in-progress.

And while there are very few processed foods in our home, I should probably be working harder to avoid sugars. Maybe with a broken oven, I’ll be less tempted by the delicious desserts that required baking. Hmm, I suppose cutting back on sugar could be one of my upcoming monthly resolutions.

If you have tips for cutting out sugar, please share them in the comments.


~ Phoebe DeCook


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