Presentation at the Italian Ministry of Health on World Diabetes Day

26 January 2024

On November 14, IDF Europe Board Member, Elena Frattolin, participated in an event organised by the Parliamentary Committee on obesity, diabetes and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the Italian Association of Diabetologists (AMD) and the Italian Society of Diabetology (SID) at the Ministry of Health, in Italy.   

The event aimed at celebrating World Diabetes Day (WDD) and raising awareness among policymakers of the fact that diabetes is one of the major challenges currently faced by healthcare systems.   

During her presentation, Ms Frattolin explained the importance of global and collective action to reduce the burden of diabetes on individuals, societies and healthcare systems. She stressed the need for a comprehensive “health-in-all-policies” approach where health is integrated into policies relating to food systems, education, transportation, social integration, physical activity and urban planning. Creating health-enabling environments and addressing the environmental, cultural and socio-economic determinants of health will not only benefit people living with diabetes (PwD) and those at risk, but also the general population.   

In her speech, Ms Frattolin, who is also a member of the Italian Association of Athletes Living with Diabetes (ANIAD), further emphasised the important role of physical activity as a tool to prevent and optimally manage diabetes. She highlighted the key role of community-based activities, such as the cycling initiative, “Diabete a Ruota Libera”, which was held last September in Friuli Venezia Giulia, to help promote healthy lifestyles and raise awareness of sport as a cost-free medicine. She also stressed the importance of policy interventions introducing education programmes on healthy diets and physical activity in schools along with the development of infrastructure to encourage healthy living and active lifestyles such as green areas, and walking and cycling paths that are well connected with public transports.  

In the context of health policies, Ms Frattolin stressed the critical need to strengthen the prevention of Type 2 Diabetes by improving screening and raising awareness among the general population and high-risk groups. She also emphasised the importance of ensuring access for all PwD to everything they need to optimally manage their condition, including structured self-management education as well as peer-to-peer and psychological support.  

In her conclusion, Ms Frattolin reaffirmed the importance of collaboration between all key stakeholders to improve diabetes prevention, management and care. She also pointed out how key policy developments such as the European Parliament Resolution on Diabetes adopted in 2022 and the High-Level Technical Summit organised by IDF Europe and WHO Europe in November 2023, should foster accelerated action to improve diabetes detection and quality of care.