Diabetes – one death every two minutes

We must do far more to prevent diabetes, a Labour MEP has said, following a vote in the European Parliament calling for more action against the disease.

Glenis Willmott, who leads on health issues for Labour in the European Parliament said: “325,000 deaths per year are attributed to diabetes in the EU; that is one European citizen every two minutes.”

“If we are serious about tackling diabetes and the huge burden it places on patients, their families and the NHS, then we must be far more focussed on the patient and on prevention.  In particular we need much better nutritional labelling to enable people to make healthier choices about the food they eat.”

Diabetes is one of the most common non-communicable diseases, estimated to affect nearly 10°% of the total EU population.  Type 2 diabetes decreases life expectancy by 5-10 years, while Type 1 diabetes decreases life expectancy by around 20 years.

Commenting on the successful vote in Parliament this week, Glenis said: “Labour MEPs and our socialist & democrat colleagues successfully strengthened the resolution this week from one geared towards pharmaceutical companies and making money out of the disease into something much more focused on patients and preventing the disease in the first place.”

“Type 2 diabetes is caused by obesity and poor nutrition.  We can do far more to stop it occurring in the first place, and clearer food labelling is a key component in this process of prevention.”

Last year Mrs Willmott led the fight in the European Parliament over how our food is labelled.  Some improvements were made, but she ultimately lost on issues such as compulsory labelling using a traffic light system.  She vowed then that the fight would go on to ensure labelling gave consumers the right kind of information to make healthy choices.

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