Report shows direct connections between diabetes & climate change

IDF has launched its pioneering Diabetes and Climate Change Report to the backdrop of the UN's Rio+20 meeting on sustainable development. Written by global experts from the health and environment sectors, the Report calls for greater policy alignment to mitigate the risks of type 2 diabetes and climate change. The Report also identifies direct linkages between diabetes and climate change. It urges governments to put both these issues at the heart of sustainable development and to adopt a unified response.

The Report highlights that both diabetes and climate change are accelerating global problems that not only threaten the wellbeing of future generations, but are damaging human health and livelihoods.

Experts claim that people with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes are more vulnerable to the adverse health impacts of climate change. In hotter temperatures, dehydration and heatstroke increase morbidity and mortality in people with diabetes. People with diabetes are also predisposed to cardiovascular events during heat waves and higher mortality from heart attack on days of high air pollution. In addition the increase of extreme climatic events is likely to damage healthcare infrastructure and weaken the delivery of care.

Other direct linkages between the two include the impact of climate change on food security and type 2 diabetes risk; and the impact of rising obesity levels and diabetes complications on Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.

“From this report we can see both diabetes and climate change have similar vectors including rapid urbanization and changing populations. We need to stop working in silos and invest in co-benefit strategies to tackle these challenges together” said Professor Jean Claude Mbanya, President of the International Diabetes Federation “Such strategies will have major health, economic and environmental benefits and will enable us to build new models for sustainable development”.

The Report argues that greater political alignment in urban planning and food policies could provide win-win opportunities to mitigate type 2 diabetes and climate change, thereby transforming high-carbon obesogenic societies to active low-carbon living.   

The Diabetes and Climate Change Report forms parts of the Bupa and IDF strategic partnership for diabetes prevention Diabetes Futures. Through this, IDF will produce of a series of policy reports focusing on strategic and emerging issues in diabetes prevention and management, aiming to inform global policy and practice.

Download the full report.

See IDF's CEO Comments on why sustainable development matters for diabetes