MEPs want diabetes taken more seriously

Strasbourg, 4 April 2006 -- The European Parliament wants diabetes - which affects more than 25 million people in the EU - to become a priority in the EU's new health strategy. MEPs made the demand in a 'written declaration' (the equivalent of a Westminster 'Early Day Motion') which received the rare support of more than half the Parliament this (morning/afternoon). The declaration now becomes a formal resolution of the House and the Parliament's staff will forward the wishes of Parliamentarians to the Council of Ministers and the European Commission.

Sir Robert Atkins MEP, Conservative Deputy Leader in the European Parliament, supported the declaration which also encourages EU member states to establish national diabetes plans and develop a strategy to encourage consumption and production of healthy food. Diabetes can lead to other costly and painful ailments such as kidney failure, amputations and blindness and the number of people affected by diabetes is set to rise by 16 percent by 2025.

Sir Robert, whose daughter was diagnosed with Type One diabetes at the age of three, said:

"This resolution will mean diabetes is placed high up in Europe's health agenda. We need immediate and concrete steps to address the growing diabetes epidemic which can lead to serious and costly health implications such as heart disease, stroke and blindness.

"Improved prevention, diagnosis and control of diabetes is key to limiting the alarming increase of the condition and improving the lives of those who have already been diagnosed.

"The Austrian Presidency of the EU has given diabetes a great deal of attention since January but with the support of MEPs today, I hope this resolution will make all European Ministers and European Commissioners understand the seriousness of the epidemic."

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