International Diabetes Federation (IDF)

International Diabetes Federation (IDF)

October 20, 2009 11:00 ET

International Diabetes Federation Calls for More Education as Diabetes Epidemic Explodes

Diabetes education needed globally to meet the needs of the 285 million people with diabetes

MONTREAL, CANADA--(Marketwire - Oct. 20, 2009) - The latest International Diabetes Federation (IDF) data reveals that over 285 million people worldwide now live with diabetes and this number will explode to 435 million by 2030.(i) This staggering figure does not capture the toll the disease takes on the individual. Unlike other diseases, people with diabetes are responsible for 95% of their own care and many are doing so without the proper skills and knowledge to do so. IDF, through its global education programme, is working to increase the number of diabetes educators worldwide, to train healthcare professionals in up-to-date diabetes management principles, to improve the quality of diabetes education and to make diabetes education an integral part of diabetes care.

Diabetes claims four million lives every year and is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and amputation.(ii) Diabetes imposes life-long demands on people and their families, who make a multitude of decisions daily related to managing diabetes. Access to diabetes education is a critical factor in meeting the challenges of diabetes. Governments must make investments to not only ensure specialized diabetes education is accessible to all healthcare professionals and people with diabetes but also ensure that both groups are trained in how to apply knowledge to daily diabetes management.

"There are millions of people making complex daily medical decisions regarding their diabetes without proper education or in many cases with no education," said Marg McGill, IDF Senior Vice President and Chair of the IDF Consultative Section on Diabetes Education (DECS). "To live a long and healthy life, the person with diabetes needs to be skilled in understanding and maintaining good nutrition, exercising, reducing risks of acute and long-term complications, coping emotionally with the burden of a chronic disease, monitoring their diabetes, problem solving and consistently adhering to their medication."

(i) IDF Diabetes Atlas, International Diabetes Federation, 2009.

(ii) IDF Diabetes Atlas, International Diabetes Federation, 2009.

Diabetes education is particularly lacking in developing countries which account for 70% of the global diabetes burden. Most people with diabetes do not access diabetes education for many reasons: cost, distance, lack of appropriate services, or they may be unaware of services that do exist or perhaps are not convinced of the benefits that diabetes education can bring. Poor management resulting from lack of knowledge will result in an increased likelihood of developing diabetes complications such as leg amputations, blindness, stroke, kidney and heart disease, thus increasing the economic burden to the person, their family and the community.

IDF Global Education Programme

IDF is committed to improving the quality of life of people with diabetes through assisting health professionals, professional organizations and member associations to provide high quality diabetes education and care. IDF's educational framework encompasses action for change on multiple fronts, including a commitment to establishing a network of recognized IDF Centres of Education that can advance the development of diabetes education in every region. IDF has been extensively involved in promoting diabetes education by developing and promoting the international standards and curricula in various languages, providing education through regional associations, conducting Multidisciplinary Workshops for Healthcare Professionals, providing education materials, lobbying, and disseminating the evidence -

Diabetes education is best provided by a multidisciplinary team. The role of the diabetes educator is of critical importance within the diabetes care team. The educator enables people with diabetes to manage their diabetes-related health to the best of their ability so that their daily choices and actions are based upon informed judgement.

IDF has released two key publications at its 20th World Diabetes Congress in Montreal to provide evidence based resources to guide the development and continued improvement of education programmes for health care professionals and people with diabetes.

IDF International Standards for Diabetes Education, 3rd Edition

The new IDF International Standards for Diabetes Education are a comprehensive evidenced based guide for developing diabetes self-management education for people with diabetes. It is designed to provide a benchmark for diabetes educators, organization-level decision makers and policy advisors to strive towards when developing self-management education programmes, and integrating education into models of service delivery and national diabetes programmes. They are an excellent resource for anyone involved or wishing to become involved, in diabetes self-management education.

"Diabetes self-management education and ongoing self-management support are critical components of effective diabetes care, and significant contributors to metabolic and psychological outcomes. These Standards provide a basis to ensure that the education and support received by individuals with diabetes and those at risk for diabetes are of the highest quality," said Martha Funnell, Chair of the Standards Revision Committee and member of IDF DECS.

IDF International Curriculum for Diabetes Health Professional Education, 2nd Ed

The IDF International Curriculum for Diabetes Health Professional Education was created to encourage evidenced based comprehensive education of healthcare professionals and some standardization of education programmes. It covers clinical management, education, behaviour, change theory, techniques and is available as a publication, slide modules and as master class videos -

"It is the philosophy of IDF that to provide high quality diabetes education, health care professionals must have a strong clinical understanding," said Anne Belton, Editor of the Curriculum and member of IDF DECS.

World Diabetes Day

IDF has made "Diabetes Education and Prevention" the theme of its World Diabetes Day campaign for the next five years - 2009-2013 - to address the global gaps in education. World Diabetes Day is a campaign led by IDF. The day is marked each year on November 14 and is an official UN Day. IDF hopes that the awareness raised by the campaign will encourage healthcare systems everywhere to recognize the need to provide structured diabetes education and help establish access to skilled diabetes education as the right of every person with diabetes.

"Diabetes education is a basic human right for every person with diabetes. The International Diabetes Federation calls on the world to invest in the education, treatment and care for diabetes for the millions of people with diabetes worldwide," said McGill.

Note to Editors:

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is an umbrella organization of over 200 member associations in more than 160 countries, representing over 285 million people with diabetes, their families, and their healthcare providers. The mission of IDF is to promote diabetes care, prevention and a cure worldwide. Its main activities include education for people with diabetes and healthcare professionals, public awareness campaigns and the promotion and exchange of information. IDF is a non-governmental organization in official relations with WHO and associated to the United Nations' Department of Public Information. IDF organizes the World Diabetes Congress every two years. For more information, please visit

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    International Diabetes Federation
    Kerrita McClaughlyn, Media Relations Manager
    Mobile: +32 487-530-625 or IDF Press Room
    (Montreal): +1 514-789-3407 and +1 514-789-3409