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GENEVA, Switzerland, May 06, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Diabetes is causing 3.2 million deaths per year worldwide, a figure three times higher than previous estimates, according to the World Health Organization.
The WHO and the International Diabetes Federation Wednesday launched a joint program called "Diabetes Action Now" to promote management and prevention of the disease in low- and middle-income countries and communities.
There were 171 million cases of diabetes worldwide in 2000, a figure expected to rise to 366 million by 2030. In developing countries, at least one in ten deaths in adults aged 35 to 64 is attributable to diabetes, said WHO official Dr. Catherine Le Gales-Camus.
Diabetes is a major cause of premature illness and death in most countries, mainly through the increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
The disease can be combated by healthy diet and physical activity, often combined with medication. Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90 percent of all cases, can often be prevented through lifestyle interventions alone, according to IDF President Professor Pierre Lefebvre.
Details of the WHO-IDF program may be found at www.who.int/diabetes.
Copyright 2004 by United Press International.