It is well known that within Australia, the risk of having diabetes which leads to a greater risk of heart disease is considerably higher among people born in India compared to people born in Australia.
In Canada — South Asians are 3x more likely to have diabetes than the average Canadian. In the UK it’s
In the UK it’s even worse, “The South Asian community is also at risk from the age of 25, opposed to 40 in the White population …and diabetes is up to six times more common.”
Many initiatives are in place in Australia to raise awareness to tackle habits around the consumption of sugar. However rarely are such campaigns or initiatives designed with the CALD community in mind. A recent study by Monash University published in 2017 stated “ …South Asian participants wanted more culturally relevant advice”.
Dunya (Kashif Pasta) a Candadian creative agency has produced one of the most powerful campaigns specifcally targeting South Asians. It’s a refreshing to see such an invigorating campaign drawing on positive traits of our parents and grandparents — their strength, resilience and hard work as migrants to this country. In contrast to most ordinary campaigns, mithaas has launched an empowering campaign that speaks directly to under represented groups.
The campaign is an initiative of “Cities Changing Diabetes” which is a partnership programme initiated by Novo Nordisk, University College London and the Steno Diabetes Centein in response to the urgent challenge caused by the dramatic rise of urban diabetes.
The Mithaas Instagram features short videos and health tips featuring members of the South Asian communtiy, inviting people to sign up to healthy living tips via whatsapp.
The content is upbeat and draws from a place of strength “Apna Time Ah Gaya. You’ve beat every other obstacle in life. So are you really going to let SUGAR take you down?”
I spent many years ticking the ‘Do you have a family history of diabetes and heart disease’ box, without giving it much thought. Not until I saw this campaign did I realise how prevalent it was specifically amongst my community. The statistics from the UK are quite confronting as well as those from Australia. It’s provoked me to spread the message and to check in with my parents more often, it’s strange I had assumed everyone who is old gets diabetes and heart disease. Yet it’s taken this campaign for me to realise that our communities are more at risk.
I hope to see more of such campaigns in Australia where most of our media doesn’t reflect the progress we’ve made as a multicultural society. It’s when many stakeholders — creatives, universities and business come together that we can have such outcomes resulting in change.