IDF’s global village

It’s relatively common to speak of the “global village” today. The growth of technology like the Internet and mobile devices helps shrink the distance between any two points on the map, opening communication between diverse populations.  In more specific terms, the global village brings people together and fosters awareness on important issues affecting our world, such as the global burden of diabetes.

Today, estimates from the IDF Diabetes Atlas indicate that there are 382 million people living with diabetes worldwide and by 2035, 592 million people or one person in ten will have the disease. Within one generation, the number is expected to increase to almost 500 million people worldwide. More than 50% of people living with diabetes do not know it.

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is at the forefront of the battle to end diabetes, but we couldn’t be effective or successful without your participation in IDF’s global village.

Spanning our world from Melbourne to Mumbai to Mexico City, IDF’s global village is a diverse “family” connected by our commitment to end the diabetes pandemic. Although we may not live under the same roof, our highly vocal and justifiable demands unify and strengthen our bonds and ambitions.

On a local level, IDF’s advocacy pushes for progressive diabetes care, accessible medicines such as insulin and access to wholesome food and exercise so essential for healthy lives. IDF effectively communicates local needs while also bridging the gap for human rights and ensuring diabetes remains high on the political agenda worldwide.

Topping our list of priorities for the IDF “family” is the support of all children and youth living with or at risk of developing type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Diabetes in childhood is a global public health issue with an estimated 79,000 children under the age of 15 developing type 1 diabetes every year. In adolescents, type 2 diabetes is on the rise, caused by poor nutrition and unhealthy environments. Many of these children face barriers to education and endure discrimination in the school environment.

IDF in collaboration with the International Society of Paediatric Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD) and Sanofi Diabetes launched the Kids & Diabetes in Schools (KiDS) project in India 2013 and efforts have been impressive. This summer the project was also launched in Brazil. Our objective is to defeat discrimination and stigma in schools by providing diabetes education sessions for teachers and children on diabetes prevention, healthy lifestyle choices and diabetes self-management. The project’s Diabetes in Schools Information Packs have been distributed as a part of the education process. As from September the Packs will be available for download online in English and in near future translated in various languages.

IDF gets up-close and personal, too. provides a powerful medium for individuals to speak out and be heard on issues related to their diabetes diagnoses, treatment, and even challenges, like what’s healthy for breakfast!

This year, we are continuing our important dialogue about eating healthily with the World Diabetes Day (WDD) 2014 campaign "Go Blue for Breakfast". IDF needs your help to build greater awareness by organising a healthy breakfast activity in your local community. "Go Blue for Breakfast" highlights the importance of eating healthily while helping to prevent type 2 diabetes and avoid serious complications. Recipes from all over the world will be featured online, including recipes from celebrity chefs and other notable supporters. We hope to see what your healthy breakfast is all about, too.

Be a part of the IDF global village and get involved, speak out and give us your feedback!

Sir Michael Hirst