The number of people living with diabetes is increasing every year. In the Americas alone, this figure has almost tripled in the last 30 years to at least 62 million people, according to the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO). Children and adolescents also suffer from the disease, with type 1 diabetes being more frequent in younger children and type 2 diabetes in obese adolescents. The global obesity syndrome and other forms of malnutrition associated with climate change is a determining factor in the rise of chronic non-communicable diseases such as diabetes.
In order to tackle the issues that contribute to the increase in the disease worldwide and to strengthen the debate on the subject, 14 November is marked as World Diabetes Day. The disease can develop in two ways: type 1 diabetes, where the individual is affected by the disease due to genetic alterations that modify the production of insulin and, consequently, generate changes in the absorption of carbohydrates by the cells; type 2 diabetes, where the disease is related to the individual’s eating and health habits.
The consumption of high-calorie, fatty foods rich in simple sugars, a low amount of fibre and a lack of physical exercise can lead to a scenario that is conducive to the development of the disease, in the case of type 2 diabetes. One group of foods that contributes to this scenario are ultra-processed foods, often rich in fats, salt and free sugars, which favour physiological changes in the insulin metabolic process.
These habits are part of the context of malnutrition. When the consumption of these foods overlaps with the consumption of healthy foods, such as fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereals, it can lead to the development of chronic diseases. There are also synergistic determinants of malnutrition, which in other words are factors that can contribute to malnutrition, some of which are: income, access to health services, level of education and areas available for physical activity.
The World Food Programme (WFP) Centre of Excellence against Hunger in Brazil, faced with the challenge of halting the rise in diabetes and obesity, is working through the Nurture the Future project, in partnership with the Ministries of Health of Brazil, Colombia and Peru and the Brazilian Cooperation Agency, to tackle the multiple burden of malnutrition in school-age children and adolescents.
The World Food Programme (WFP) Centre of Excellence against Hunger in Brazil, faced with the challenge of curbing the rise in diabetes and obesity, is working through the Nourish the Future project, in partnership with the Ministries of Health of Brazil, Colombia and Peru and the Brazilian Cooperation Agency, to tackle the multiple burden of malnutrition in school-age children and adolescents.
In this sense, the Centre of Excellence, through these publications from the Nurture the Future project, seeks to encourage the consumption of healthy foods that work to combat various diseases. At city level, it is worth highlighting actions that can be promoted to reduce the impact of childhood diabetes, through prevention and care for obesity, such as health promotion in schools, health communication campaigns, physical activity in cities, tax and food protection measures, healthy eating environments and actions in primary health care.