A day ahead of World Diabetes Day, student representatives from 40 schools across the Capital and health professionals met Ms. Gursharan Kaur, wife of the Prime Minister, at her residence here on Friday, seeking her intervention in diabetes prevention in India. The meeting also marked the conclusion of a week-long campaign on diabetes prevention.

A new group focused on diabetes prevention among the younger generations in India – the Indo-US Diabetes Coalition – was also launched on Friday. Reinforcing the theme for this year’s World Diabetes Day – “Diabetes Education and Prevention” – the Diabetes Coalition, a network of concerned individuals, has declared this week as diabetes week and urged young Indians to pay attention to healthy living.

To generate interest in healthy living among young people and their communities, the Diabetes Coalition and several of its partners, including Public Health Foundation of India, Health Related Information Dissemination Amongst Youth and Centre for Chronic Disease Control together had organised the week-long campaign to draw attention to diabetes. The campaign involved walks throughout the city to raise awareness about diabetes and its prevention.

Emphasising the importance of a healthy diet and physical activity in diabetes prevention, Indo-US Diabetes Coalition’s Scientific Steering Committee member Prof. K. Srinath Reddy said: “Though India is the diabetes capital of the world, there is clear evidence that people can protect themselves from diabetes by eating a healthy diet of whole grain cereals, vegetables and nuts and by being physically active throughout the day. It is especially important to protect children and adolescents from overweight and leading a sedentary life.’’

“We believe we are at the beginning of an important movement to shape India’s health,’’ said Dr. Nalini Saligram, who started the Indo-US Diabetes Coalition. Calling upon the Government and youngsters alike to spread awareness about the disease, she added, “Our aim is to bring about social change that galvanises young Indians to take up exercise and reduce unhealthy eating for long-term health benefits.’’

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