Diabetes: A Global Epidemic

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Nearly every society on earth is affected by diabetes -- one of the most pressing health crises facing humanity today. Currently, more than 246 million people worldwide are living with the disease, a number that is expected to explode to 380 million within 20 years. Despite recent advancements -- including new medications, monitoring devices and measurements -- the fight against diabetes continues to be an uphill battle. In an effort to raise awareness and uncover new clues for combating the disease, Discovery Health, with support from an unrestricted educational grant from Novo Nordisk, presents DIABETES: A GLOBAL EPIDEMIC -- the definitive look at how diabetes affects the global community.

Featuring narration from five-time Oscar nominee Glenn Close, DIABETES: A GLOBAL EPIDEMIC takes viewers across six continents to gain greater knowledge of the disease and how it affects different communities. In a television first, Discovery Health travels around the world to investigate diabetes' escalating human and economic toll across differing cultures and health care systems. The documentary's premiere comes on the heels of a historic milestone -- the first United Nations World Diabetes Day, which will be observed on November 14, 2007. With generous support from Novo Nordisk, the one-hour documentary will be presented commercial-free in the United States.

"This groundbreaking documentary shows diabetes for what it is: the silent epidemic of the 21st century, which doesn't discriminate between culture, continent or civilization," says Lise Kingo, executive vice president at Novo Nordisk. "The film also captures the care, professionalism and determination of all those who live with, treat and seek new treatments for diabetes around the world and who are working toward consigning diabetes to medical history."

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DIABETES: A GLOBAL EPIDEMIC follows Francine Kaufman, MD, former American Diabetes Association president and head of the Center for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, as she tours the world. Over a six-month period, Dr. Kaufman journeys from Los Angeles to Cape Town, South Africa; Chennai, India; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Melbourne and Perth, Australia; and Helsinki, Finland, in her quest to increase focus on the prevention, treatment and care of diabetes. In her travels, Dr. Kaufman meets with physicians and diabetes thought leaders to discuss the challenges of combating the disease, as well as their success stories of treatment and prevention. In addition, she spends time with diabetes patients of all ages who share their personal stories and offer a unique insight into the realities of living with the disease.

"During my travels, I realized that while diabetes is a worldwide issue, it often affects different cultures in different ways," said Kaufman. "It became clear to me that in order to effectively address the disease globally, we need to apply culturally sensitive solutions locally."

DIABETES: A GLOBAL EPIDEMIC gives audiences an in-depth understanding of the impact the westernization of the world has had on the incidence and prevalence of diabetes, and how differing cultures add unique dynamics to the problem at local levels.

We learn how South Africans don't want to be thin because of the stigma of AIDS. In India, when people become financially secure their eating increases- to be large in size symbolizes wealth and success. Australians talk about their country becoming a nation of sports watchers instead of sports players. All these factors are prompting leading experts to urgently join forces in the common goal of defeating this enemy, which can lead to blindness, heart disease and renal failure.

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