The Durban Wellness Festival is set to educate the community about diabetes and promote healthy living on Sunday, 11 November. It is a celebration of all things healthy, with a 5km fun run/walk, music, Zumba Bollywood Style, Yoga and a Yoga Laughter Session and an expo.

Proceeds from the walk/ run will go to Diabetes SA Durban and participants will step out for good health at the Durban Bay of Plenty, where registration will start at 7am and the walk will start at 8am. The Wellness Expo which is free to the public will offer the community the opportunity to have their blood pressure, blood sugar, eyes and feet tested on the day.

Jenny Russell, the Durban branch manager of Diabetes South Africa said that more people loose their lives to diabetes worldwide than AIDS and cancer combined.

“Our main objective is to bring diabetes into the spotlight, in the hope that it gains the recognition it deserves, instead of remaining in the shadow of HIV, AIDS and Cancer,” added Russell.

“Although 1.3 million state patients have diabetes in KZN, there is only one physician per 100,000 residents,” said Russell.

“Little or no diabetes education is available in the state system due to lack of funds and staff, and with only two podiatrists to serve all these state patients, it is no wonder that there are six amputations per day in KZN – totally unacceptable. This is what the Durban Wellness Festival is trying to change, to increase the education on diabetes,” she added.

According to Russell, statistics show that at least 50% of those with diabetes are unaware of their condition.

“That means that those numbers are, in reality far higher. In some countries this figure may reach 80%. We have between 3 and 3.5 million diagnosed diabetics in South Africa. We also have an estimated 1.5 million undiagnosed diabetics and approximately 1.5 to 2 million pre-diabetics in South Africa,” said Russell.

Children are also not immune. Worldwide, every year, 70 000 children under the age of 15 develop Type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes in children is becoming a global public health issue with potentially serious outcomes. 30% of children born since the year 2000 are expected to become diabetic if lifestyle changes are not made.

Russell added that 95% of all diabetics are type 2 with 90% of all complications experienced by type 2 diabetics.

“What is so frustrating is that most of this is preventable if people eat healthy foods and exercise. Hence, it is important to get the message out there and to continually try to educate people to make good lifestyle choices for both themselves and their families,” she said.

The festival is supported by SASA, Lily and Clover Tropika Slenda, as well as the Protea Hotel by Marriott Durban Edward.

For further information contact Pat Bonini on 031 201 2169 during office hours.