November 14 is World Diabetes Day – a global event that brings together millions of people in over 160 countries to raise awareness of diabetes. This year the theme of World Diabetes Day is Diabetes in Children and Adolescents
Diabetes is one of the most chronic diseases of childhood. According to the World Diabetes Foundation, in Aboriginal communities in the United States, Canada and here in Australia at least one in 100 young people have diabetes. In some communities, it’s one in every 25.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic, potentially debilitating and often fatal disease. It occurs as a result of problems with the production and supply of the hormone insulin in the body.
The body needs insulin to use the energy stored in food. When someone has diabetes they produce no or insufficient insulin (type 1 diabetes), or their body cannot use effectively the insulin they produce (type 2 diabetes).
Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease that cannot be prevented. Globally it is the most common form of diabetes in children, affecting around 500,000 children under 15. Diabetes can strike children of any age including infants and toddlers.
But, as a result of increasing childhood obesity and sedentary lifestyles, type 2 diabetes is also increasing fast in children and adolescents. In some countries, such as Japan, type 2 diabetes has become the most common form of the disease in children.
World Diabetes Day wants to bring the focus onto children and adolescents to raise awareness of diabetes and its impact on children, because every child has a right to a long and healthy life.