Nicaragua loves boxing. Many Asian countries favor basketball. In the Bahamas they enjoy playing tennis. New Zealand digs rugby, and Uruguay, interestingly, likes skateboarding the best. In the United States, our favorite, hands-down, is football. The wide array of favored sporting activities from country to country can be a little surprising. However, if the food, personalities, values, and social trends of countries around the globe vary so greatly, why should sports and fitness be any different? Now, what about health concerns – are those just as varied and wide-spread? According to the World Health Organization, many health issues that are problems in our own communities are just as prevalent across the oceans as well. World-wide health concerns are such a big deal, in fact, that the World Health Organization (WHO) has named April 7th World Health Day. Each year, since WHO’s inception in 1948, they have used this day to call attention to a significant health issue that affects people across the world.
In 2010 the theme concerned urbanization and health. In 2011 the focus was on antimicrobial resistance. In 2015 it was food safety. This year the focus once again is clear: Beat Diabetes.
As stated on the WHO website, “In 2012, diabetes was the direct cause of 1.5 million deaths. More than 80% of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. In 2014 the global prevalence of diabetes was estimated to be 9% among adults aged 18+ years.” In fact, it is estimated that 350 million people around the world have diabetes, and this number is expected to double within the next two decades. Considering these staggering statistics, it’s seems that it’s high time that this disease gets some global attention. Not only is the disease itself pretty scary, with the potential of damaged kidneys, heart, blood vessels and nerves, but contraction of diabetes can lead to economic devastation for people who must face lost work and increased medical bills.
What’s even more heartbreaking? Prevention is shockingly simple and inexpensive; in short: eat moderately and healthfully, keep your weight in check, exercise often, and don’t smoke. If you’re a frequent visitor to our studios, chances are you’ve got these basic principles down. But what if we look beyond ourselves? Chances are you’ve got a relative or friend who may not follow the same health guidelines, and who seems to be frighteningly ripe for a diabetes onset. If that loved one is a male and/or has a family history of diabetes their chances get even higher.
As is the message of World Health Day, consider spreading the word to loved ones who might need to hear it. With its spreading prevalence and simple prevention, a little well-intended education can make a huge difference. Your knowledge and confidence in approaching someone can be bolstered by information found on the World Health Day website, http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2016/en/
Whether around the world or right in your neighborhood, positive health choices are becoming more popular and more mainstream thanks to widespread efforts by organizations like WHO. And, although you may not realize it, when it comes to your family and friends, your own healthy lifestyle choices may be making a world of difference as well.