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Number of diabetics in Belgium doubled in 15 years

Belgium is not immune to the global explosion in diabetes, reported the Scientific Institute of Public Health (ISP) on Wednesday. This information comes in the run up to World Diabetes Day on November 14th. According to a public health survey published in 2013, 5.3% of Belgians over the age of 15 have contracted the disease. The numbers were 4.2% in 2008 and 2.7% in 1997. To help prevent the chronic disease or to avoid complications from it, the International Diabetes Federation is to launch a campaign on the importance of having a healthy breakfast. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), diabetes affects nearly 350 million people worldwide, and by 2030, the disease may become the seventh leading cause of death. Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for about 90% of the cases, is mainly caused by a lack of exercise and being overweight.

The International Diabetes Federation, of which the Belgian Diabetes Association (ABD) is a member, organized the 2014 World Day around the theme “Healthy living and diabetes”. Breakfast should represent 20 to 25% of the daily energy intake since it is very effective in controlling appetite and blood sugar levels, says the ABD. Ideally, it should consist of a source of starch (bread or low-sugar cereals), fat (low-fat margarine or half-fat butter), protein (cheese, lean meat, semi-skimmed milk or yogurt), fruit and a drink.

In response to the growth of the “disease of the civilised world”, the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (INAMI), complimentary health providers and specialised care centres have implemented programmes to better support people with diabetes and coordinate their care, says the ISP. These programmes, however, only cover a minority of patients: they exclude those treated with oral antidiabetic drugs as opposed to an insulin injection and those for which a change in lifestyle would be enough to contain the disease. The health authorities are therefore studying the possibility of extending measures “to diabetes patients at an earlier stage of the illness,” points out the ISP.

(Source: Belga)