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Virtual Health Library (VHL = BVS) – integrated search with LILACS and VHL databases

World Health Day: Beat diabetes


whd-masthead-en The World Health Day 2016 focuses on actions to fight diabetes, a  chronic disease that affects 62 million people in the Americas,  representing one in each 12 people.

Diabetes is a serious chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body does not effectively use the insulin it produces. There are three main types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, which is more common among children and adolescents; type 2 diabetes, which is more common in adults and is linked to obesity or overweight, lack of exercise and poor nutrition; and gestational diabetes, which is a complication of pregnancy that affects approximately 10% of pregnant women globally. Type 2 diabetes accounts for approximately 90-95% of cases, and it can be prevented by reducing the major risk factors: (a) overweight and obesity, which contributes to 44% of cases; (B) physical inactivity, which contributes 27% of cases; and other risk factors such as smoking, alcohol abuse, family history and unknown factors (33%).

Most cases of diabetes are linked to behavioral factors and life style, and are, thus, preventable. Public policies for the prevention of overweight and obesity promoted by PAHO’s Plan of Action to prevent obesity in children and adolescents include:

1) Promoting breastfeeding and healthy eating;

2) Improving school food and physical activity environments;

3) Regulation and supervision of food marketing and labeling;

4) Other multi-sectoral actions; and

5) Surveillance, research and evaluation.


Moreover, breastfeeding directly reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes in children and women; breastfeeding women and breast-fed infants are at 32% and 35% lower risk, respectively.


Scientific and technical literature

BIREME/PAHO/WHO selected documents from the Virtual Health Library on the topics of the World Health Day 2016.


Links of interest


Watch the message video of the Director of PAHO/WHO, Dr. Carissa Etienne, about diabetes.

PAHO/WHO homepage on the World Health Day 2016

WHO homepage on the World Health Day 2016

Infographic on diabetes

Prevalence of diabetes in the Americas

Publications on diabetes: reports, strategies and guidelines