UN meeting on non-communicable diseases like type 2 diabetes yields few specific proposals

The rate of type 2 diabetes is rising dramatically, which has prompted many health experts to recommend swift action to combat the problem. A recent high-level meeting at the United Nations to discuss the epidemic may have failed to effectively address the issue.

From September 19 to 20, officials from governments from around the world gathered at the UN to discuss strategies for tackling the rising rates of type 2 diabetes, as well as cancer, heart disease and lung conditions.

The meetings yielded a pledge from member nations to prevent millions of deaths from these avoidable conditions, which the authors of the report called a "profound concern."

However, the Washington Post points out that the pledge has little in the way of specifics. There is no mention of how the international community will coordinate efforts to support the health of individuals and limit deaths from diabetes and other preventable causes.

The report does identify tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, unhealthy diets and a lack of exercise as the primary causes of these diseases. However, it does not address how to deal with these risk factors. In the end, the authors of the proposal asked President of the General Assembly Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser to submit proposals for facilitating the fight against chronic health conditions, the news source reports.

Going into the meeting, experts expressed hopes that more concrete proposals and commitments would come out of the sessions. Some advocated for higher taxes on cigarettes, soda and high-fat foods, while others favored more funding for educational campaigns and research into diseases.

While these specific proposals may not have been acted upon, the fact that chronic health conditions like type 2 diabetes were taken up by the UN at such high level could bring a significant amount of attention to the problem.