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35 million cases in 2005 to 71 million in 2030

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 31, 2008) - The number of people with diabetes in the West Pacific region including Fiji is expected to reach 71 million in 2030 from 35 million in 2005.

The International Diabetes Federation Western Pacific Regional (IDF-WPR) says the region has the highest number of people with diabetes in the age group from 40 to 59 years and more than one million deaths have been attributed to diabetes in 2007.

"Asians and Pacific Islanders exhibit different disease patterns compared to Caucasians," a statement from the organization stated. "Diabetes develops at a lower level of obesity with many young patients having type-2 disease which is often silent resulting in late diagnosis. While heart disease is becoming more prevalent, disease burden due to stroke and kidney disease in people with diabetes is extremely high in the region."

The organization said it would hold a congress in Wellington from today until Wednesday.

Two workshops will be held to promote the vision and mission of the Western Pacific Declaration on Diabetes to attain better health outcomes for people with or at risk of diabetes through advocating healthier environments and strengthening the capacity of national health systems.

This will help to deliver and monitor equitable, affordable and effective services for the prevention and care of diabetes and its complications, the statement read.

The Plan of Action for Western Pacific Declaration on Diabetes also forms an essential part of the region’s approach to NCD control, with its focus on four risk factors (tobacco, diet, physical activity, alcohol) and four diseases (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, cancer) with a regional goal of 10 million less deaths from NCD by 2015.

As an advocacy document, the Plan of Action (2006 to 2010) for the Western Pacific Declaration on Diabetes aims to engage local champions and organizations to lobby support from governments to create environments conducive to the promotion of a healthy lifestyle and reduce obesity, especially childhood obesity, through legislation and policies.

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