Only one-third of Chinese diabetics know they have the chronic disease, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said Friday.
"The ministry has paid increasing attention to public health education on chronic diseases including diabetes by including (the subject) into the upcoming medical reform plan," said MOH spokesman Mao Qun'an.
Mao spoke during an award ceremony for the China Health Communications Award for Diabetes Awareness 2008, where the MOH honored doctors, patients and news organizations for spreading knowledge about the disorder.
The International Diabetes Federation has estimated that China had 39.8 million diabetes patients in 2007 and will have about 59 million in 2025.
The MOH said the number of urban diabetics had increased 39 percent in the past six years.
China uses World Health Organization diagnostic criteria for diabetes.
"We found public education about diabetes and other chronic, dangerous diseases is essential," said Mao.
The China Health Communications Award focuses on one chronic disease each year. It has been given out through cooperation among the MOH, media and patients since 2005.