The world's cities will soon have the opportunity to be officially designated "diabetes aware". They will be challenged to show that their public services and businesses encourage healthy lifestyles for people with diabetes and those at risk.
The new scheme is being created by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the European Connected Health Alliance (ECHAlliance) who plan to launch it on World Diabetes Day, 14 November 2014. IDF and the ECHAlliance want to create a global network of "diabetes aware" cities using mobile health tools to promote diabetes awareness and support.
A "diabetes aware" city will demonstrate that all sections of the community are committed to creating a healthy urban environment. Local public services, businesses and institutions will demonstrate that they understand challenges faced by people with diabetes and those at risk. This may include providing appropriate nutritional information in restaurants or city authorities ensuring green spaces are safe and accessible for exercise.
Using mobile health tools and apps, key stakeholders in city life will be able to target diabetes aware options to those at risk of diabetes and those with the disease.
An expert group is being established by IDF and the ECHAlliance to draw up the scheme. It will include representatives from business, NGO and mHealth sectors amongst others.
"By 2035 one in ten of the world's population will have diabetes unless there is radical change" says Dr Petra Wilson, IDF's Chief Executive. "People in urban areas will be particularly vulnerable. Socially and economically this diabetes epidemic will be very costly. It is important that we find new ways of working across all sectors to provide people with targeted information on healthier lifestyle options", she added.
Brian O'Connor, Chair of the ECHAlliance welcomed the new partnership, "Providing people with mobile information on healthier places to eat, shop and exercise in cities is the first step toward making the healthy choice the easy choice. Information is the key to enabling healthy choices".