Whole of Society Approach Needed to “Beat Diabetes”

Statement from Food Industry Asia (FIA) on the occasion of World Health Day 2016

Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) observes World Health Day 2016 with a targeted campaign to “Beat Diabetes,” which includes issuing its first “Global report on diabetes”.

The “Beat Diabetes” campaign aims to increase awareness about the rise in diabetes rate, and its staggering burden and consequences, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. It also aims to trigger a set of specific, effective and affordable actions to tackle diabetes.

In South-East Asia, experts warn that the rise in obesity rates is likely to put more individuals at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which will have an impact on the health of the region’s population, as well as its health systems. According to the WHO, between the years 2000 and 2030, the prevalence rate of diabetes is expected to more than double in the ASEAN Six – Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – as obesity rates continue to rise.

FIA supports the view that a sustainable and multi-stakeholder regional effort is needed to improve diets and stabilise rates of obesity and chronic disease in Asia. FIA recognises the observance of World Health Day 2016 by highlighting how major food and beverage companies have taken innovative steps, including the reformulation of products, to respond to the region’s complex challenges related to health and nutrition—particularly that of NCDs, obesity and diabetes. FIA’s members share common values around the responsible promotion of balanced diets and lifestyles, as we recognise that healthy eating is a key contributing factor in the fight against diabetes.

The WHO’s focus on diabetes resonates clearly with the priorities of FIA – health and nutrition is at the top of our priorities.

The global diabetes epidemic has triggered debates and galvanised partnerships among governments, public health bodies, non-governmental organisations, think tanks and the food industry worldwide, as key stakeholders look to develop solutions to help tackle the complex health and nutrition challenges. As part of its mission, FIA is harnessing the power of partnership to launch a multi-stakeholder regional effort to improve diets and stabilise the rates of obesity and NCDs in Asia.

FIA members are continuously improving product offerings to create products that offer healthier options containing more whole grains and fibre, more calcium, vitamins and minerals, more low-fat dairy, more vegetables and fruit, reduced sodium, less fat, less sugar and fewer calories. This also includes developing more affordable nutrient-dense food products for specific consumer groups, such as diabetics.

FIA and its network of national industry associations are working constructively with governments in Asia on nutrition and health issues, such as diabetes, with the goal of promoting a joined-up dialogue spanning all points of the supply chain and capturing the views of all businesses, including small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

FIA issues regular e-bulletins with analysis on relevant food and beverage industry issues across the region. To subscribe to this service, please click here