Home The Lions Blog Knowing Your Risk Is the First Step to Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Knowing Your Risk Is the First Step to Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Lorenzo Piemonte September 24, 2019

Diabetes is a global health epidemic. This chronic condition currently affects close to half a billion people worldwide and is set to impact one in nine people by 2045. One in two people currently living with diabetes has not yet been diagnosed, which means that their condition is not under control.

IDF and Lions International aim to have at least one million people screened for Type 2 diabetes by the end of November 2019.

Left untreated, diabetes can have devastating consequences on a person’s health and well-being, causing a number of serious complications that can impact harshly on the finances of individuals, their families and the economies of nations. Diabetes is responsible for more than four million deaths each year and is a leading cause of blindness, heart disease, kidney failure and lower limb amputation.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, accounting for up to 90% of all cases and the vast majority of those who are undiagnosed. Unlike Type 1 diabetes, which is diagnosed most commonly in children and young adults, Type 2 diabetes can be prevented in many cases.

The cornerstone of Type 2 diabetes prevention is the adoption of a healthy diet and increased physical activity. Several studies conducted around the world have shown that the risk of developing the condition can be significantly reduced by adopting healthier lifestyles. The most important risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include excess body weight, lack of exercise and poor nutrition.

The first step to preventing Type 2 diabetes is knowing your risk.

This November, as part of global awareness activities to mark World Diabetes Day and Diabetes Awareness Month, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is proud to partner with Lions Clubs International to help halt the continued rise of Type 2 diabetes by encouraging everyone to learn about their risk for the condition through a simple online test.

Brief questionnaires have been shown to be simple, practical and inexpensive ways to quickly identify people who may be at a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes and need to have their level of risk further investigated. IDF has developed a Type 2 diabetes online diabetes risk assessment that aims to predict a person’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes within the next ten years.

The test is based on the Finnish Diabetes Risk Score (FINDRISC) developed and designed by Adjunct Professor Jaana Lindstrom and Professor Jaakko Tuomilehto from the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland. Thanks to Lions International, the IDF online test has been made available in 12 languages.

Our shared goal is to have at least one million people screened for Type 2 diabetes by the end of November 2019.

IDF, representing over 240 national diabetes associations in more than 160 countries and territories, has been leading the global diabetes community since 1950. The Federation is engaged in action to tackle diabetes from the local to the global level ― from programs at the community level to worldwide awareness and advocacy initiatives. IDF’s activities influence policy, increase public awareness and encourage health improvement, promote the exchange of high-quality information about diabetes, and provide education for people with diabetes and their healthcare providers.

Our joint initiative around prevention of Type 2 diabetes forms part of a wider IDF-Lions International collaborative alliance aimed at tackling diabetes at the global level. In 2018, IDF and Lions International signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) through which the two organizations committed to achieve a series of common goals:

  • Prevent Type 2 diabetes and improve the quality of life for all people living with diabetes
  • Raise diabetes awareness and provide education where needed
  • Develop holistic diabetes service projects to improve care
  • Elevate the issue of diabetes onto the national and global political agenda
  • Increase access to diabetes care, medication and diagnostic equipment

IDF and Lions International aim to achieve the objectives of the partnership through joint programming, capacity development, campaigning, advocacy, research and data and knowledge management.

At the signing of the MoU, IDF President Professor Nam H. Cho said, “Diabetes is fast becoming a global health emergency. Without concerted action to slow down the advance of this serious and debilitating condition, diabetes will overwhelm healthcare budgets everywhere. This is a timely and welcome partnership. Lions Clubs International is a dynamic movement with a vast and influential network. It has an impressive track record in bringing about positive change and health improvement. Our organizations are ideally placed to collaborate and make a difference for the many millions now living with diabetes and all those at risk.”

Simple action can help halt the rise of Type 2 diabetes. Visit this page to find out how you can support IDF and Lions International this November by encouraging everyone in your community to learn about their risk of Type 2 diabetes through our simple online test.


Lorenzo Piemonte is the communications manager at the International Diabetes Federation, based in Brussels, Belgium.