‘Beating Diabetes’ on National Health Week Agenda

‘Beating Diabetes’ on National Health Week Agenda‘Beating Diabetes’ on National Health Week Agenda

The National Health Week is observed April 20-26 across the country. Every year, various programs are planned and implemented through the week by different organizations active in the field of general health and food security with the Food and Drug Administration spearheading the events.

“The FDA strives to encourage public health awareness including on the huge burden and consequences of unhealthy lifestyles,” said Mohammad Hashemi, executive secretary of the national week and director of FDA’s public relations, the Persian language newspaper Donya-e-Eqtesad reported.

The slogan of this year’s World Health Day (April 7) “Beat Diabetes” will be promoted during the week with focus on scaling up diabetes prevention, strengthening care, and enhancing surveillance.

About 422 million people (1 in every 11) worldwide are diabetic and the number is likely to more than double in the next 20 years. In 2012, diabetes was the direct cause of 1.5 million deaths. More than 80% of the deaths occur in low and middle-income countries. Type 2 accounts for around 90% of all diabetes worldwide. Reports of type 2 diabetes in children have increased worldwide. The World Health Organization says that diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death by 2030.

“The ceremony to grant the label ‘Food Safety and Security’ to selected health products is one of the important events of the week,” Hashemi said.

Products that qualify will be given the health tag in the presence of senior state officials including Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi, FDA head Rasoul Dinarvand, lawmakers, and representatives from universities of medical sciences as well as senior managers from domestic food industries.

The health week will also address ways to check the dramatic rise of diabetes in the country given that a large proportion of diabetic cases are preventable. Efforts to prevent and treat the disease will be important to achieve the global Sustainable Development Goals’ target of reducing premature mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by one-third by 2030. Iran has drawn up and presented a national document on NCDs to the WHO.

During the week, people aged 45 or older who visit the Social Security Organization hospitals across the country can get free blood sugar checks, and if necessary learn how to prevent development of type 2 diabetes and medications for treating the condition, including side effects.

The SSO will also organize morning walks for its staff in various parks to encourage exercising as the key to lifelong management of diabetes.

A program dubbed ‘The Good, the Bad, the Ugly” will also take off across high schools in Tehran where 13% of the population is living with diabetes. The program will enlighten youths on the use of energy-boosting food, weight loss and gain pills, and more important, how to distinguish legally imported safe health products from harmful smuggled stuff.

 Antibiotic Resistance

Technical training programs on how to prevent antibiotic resistance will be organized in cooperation with Tehran University of Medical Sciences. Additionally, an exhibition on the traffic light tagging system for food products, as well as a competition for the best lead headline in health, will be held for journalists in the domestic mass media.

“The programs will help cultivate a culture of reading the ‘traffic light’ labels on food products by the people, and choosing healthy products.”

Currently, 50% of the food products have ‘traffic light’ tags on them, according to Behrouz Jannat, director general of Food, Beauty and health Products Supervision Department at the FDA.

“Labels with information indicating how much fat, salt, sugar and trans fat, will be placed on all food products by the end of the current year (March 2017),” IRNA quoted him as saying.

Red labels indicate a warning on the amount a consumer should take; yellow is for ‘alert’ and green will signal safety of the food item with no concerns on the intake.