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Health

A pledge to end diabetes stigma

In a paper published in Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology on World Diabetes Day 2023, a team of experts, including Professor Jackie Sturt from King’s College London, outline an International Consensus Statement and related Pledge to End Diabetes Stigma.

The consensus statement and Pledge have been developed through an international multi-disciplinary panel of 51 experts from 18 countries across the world. The panel also included people with lived experience of diabetes. 

Organisations and single individuals can sign up to the Pledge and help end diabetes stigma.

Pledge to pro-actively bring an end to diabetes stigma and discrimination by: 

  • Respecting people with all types of diabetes.
  • Recognising diabetes stigma exists and has harmful impacts.
  • Acknowledging and challenging my/our own prejudices about (people with) diabetes.
  • Using accurate, respectful, inclusive, non-judgmental, and strengths-based language, messaging, and imagery when communicating with or about people with diabetes.
  • Avoiding and challenging fear-based messaging and imagery.
  • Condemning discrimination due to diabetes and advocating for equal treatment and support for people with diabetes.
  • Encouraging initiatives, policies, and laws that promote equity for all people with diabetes.

Summary of Findings

To accelerate an end to diabetes stigma and discrimination, an international multi-disciplinary expert panel from 18 countries conducted rapid reviews and participated in a three-round Delphi survey process. They achieved Consensus on 25 Statements of Evidence and 24 Statements of Recommendations.

The Consensus is that diabetes stigma is driven primarily by blame, perceptions of burden/sickness, (in)visibility, and fear/disgust. People with diabetes often encounter stigma (negative social judgments, stereotypes, prejudice), which can adversely affect emotional, mental, and physical health, self-care, access to optimal healthcare, and social and professional opportunities.

Up to 1 in 3 people experience discrimination (unfair and prejudicial treatment) due to diabetes, e.g., in healthcare, education and employment. Diabetes stigma and discrimination are harmful, unacceptable, unethical, and counterproductive. Collective leadership is needed to pro-actively challenge, and bring an end to, diabetes stigma and discrimination. Consequently, the panel achieved unanimous consensus on a pledge to end diabetes stigma and discrimination.

Impact

Over 200 organisations globally have endorsed the pledge. See the list of organisations and individuals who have pledged and given their consent for their details to be shared online.

Project status: Ongoing

Investigator

  • Jackie Sturt

    Head of Division, Care in Long Term Conditions and Professor of Behavioural Medicine in Nursing