November 14 is World Diabetes Day. The disease is having a devastating impact on the Caribbean, which has double global rates. Diabetes and cardiovascular disease cause the majority of premature deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the region. In some countries as many as 1 in 4 adults are living with the illness and women in the region are 60% more likely to have diabetes than men.
This stark picture is echoed across the Caribbean with other chronic diseases, where NCD mortality is the highest in the Americas. Too many people are dying from diabetes, heart attacks, stroke, and cancers. In some countries more than half the adult population has high blood pressure and children are increasingly being affected. In Barbados, for example, some 2,500 children are living with obesity-related hypertension. Across the region childhood obesity exceeds 10% and in one country nearly a quarter of girls are obese.
Clearly, we are facing a crisis and we need to do more on an individual, community, national and regional level to make sure that the people of the Caribbean lead longer, healthier lives.
To find out full details of the NCD epidemic and ways to accelerate action, visit onecaribbeanhealth.org. The website has a wealth of information, stories, ideas, fact sheets and action guides about where we are and where we need to go.