About 5 percent of Vietnam ’s population have diabetes and between 15-20 percent of the people are at a high risk of developing diabetes, according to the Central Endocrine Hospital ’s recent survey.

These figures were announced at a meting in response to World Diabetes Day jointly held by the Health Ministry and the World Health Organisation in Hanoi on Nov. 14.

Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thi Xuyen warned that lifestyle changes, less physical activity and unhealthy eating are making a rise in the prevalence of diabetes in Vietnam .

As the disease costs its victims dear, the Health Ministry has asked the Prime Minister to supplement funding for the national anti-diabetes target programme in the 2011-2015 period to promote preventive measures widely to reduce new cases of diabetes as well as the disease complications.

According to experts, diabetes cannot be cured yet, however, 80 percent of type 2 diabetes cases can change the course of the disease with a healthy diet and more exercise.

WHO Country Representative Jean-Marc Olive suggested that Vietnam should manage diabetes right from communal and district hospitals to make the prevention and combat against the disease more effective.

Following the meeting, the Central Endocrine Hospital ’s doctors provided consultancy on healthy diet for preventing diabetes and its complications together with free blood sugar tests for 500 participating people.

The same day, more than 5,000 people joined an anti-diabetes meeting in Ho Chi Minh City , where nearly 35 percent of the city’s population are facing blood sugar transformation disorder and the prevalence of diabetes rose 185 percent over the past seven years.

Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure and non-traumatic lower limb amputations./.