World health day 2016

Today is World Health Day, a milestone that has been established by the World Health Organization (WHO) and this year the focus is on diabetes. According to WHO about 350 million people worldwide have diabetes, and 90% of diabetes cases are type 2[1].

The International Plant Sterols and Stanols Association (IPSSA), the leading association in the sector of plant sterols and stanols comprised of the major international companies (Arboris, BASF, Cargill, Danone, Raisio, Unilever), fully supports the goals of WHO this World Health Day to combat diabetes.

We would therefore like to use the opportunity of this milestone date to make a call for action and to ask diabetics and people in the general population to measure their cholesterol and take action to reduce or maintain at normal their LDL-cholesterol levels.

Elevated LDL-cholesterol has no physical symptoms that could alert someone and yet it is a significant heart disease risk factor. Diabetics in particular, but also the general population, need to take action as early as possible and measure their cholesterol through a simple blood test. The good news is that through a healthy and active lifestyle and a diet – essential for diabetics – LDL-cholesterol levels can be lowered significantly, Geert van Poppel, IPSSA Chairman comments. But people must take action, measure, and become aware of their cholesterol levels sooner rather than later, he concludes.

We believe that awareness of their cholesterol level is an important step for diabetics as:

  1. People with diabetes are at increased risk for cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary heart disease[2]
  2. Adults with diabetes are about two to four times more likely to have heart disease than adults without diabetes[3]
  3. A key problem in people with diabetes is in fact dyslipidaemia, characterised by too much LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, not enough HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and high triglycerides next to high blood pressure, risk factors for heart disease
  4. Therefore, it is very important that cardiovascular risk factors, such as LDL-cholesterol, are optimally managed
  5. LDL-cholesterol goals for people with diabetes are stricter than for people without diabetes, which is why it is extremely important that all effective measures to reduce LDL-cholesterol are taken[4]:
    • The goal for LDL-cholesterol in people with diabetes is according to current guidelines <2.5 mmol/l (less than ˜ 100 mg/dl) or <1.8 mmol/l (less than ˜ 70 mg/dl)
    • The general LDL-C goal for healthy individuals is <3.0 mmol/l (less than ˜ 115 mg/dl)
  6. It has been scientifically proven that a daily consumption of foods and food supplements with 1.5 – 3.0g of added plant sterols or stanols can lower blood LDL-cholesterol dose-dependently by 7-12.5% in 2-3 weeks as part of the daily diet[5]

Diabetes, a global and EU epidemic, is a preventable (type 2) and manageable condition (all types) if people take early action. The WHO is this year working with governments and civil society partners to increase awareness about the rise of diabetes and trigger a set of specific, effective, and affordable actions to tackle the disease which carries a huge economic toll on all countries but in particular middle and low-income ones. The main message of WHO that IPSSA fully subscribes to is that a large number of diabetes cases are preventable while diabetes itself is treatable. See more at https://www.who.int/news/item/06-04-2016-world-health-day-2016-who-calls-for-global-action-to-halt-rise-in-and-improve-care-for-people-with-diabetes