Several cyclists took part in a relay race to raise money for children with diabetes and to increase awareness about the illness. (Image: Novo Nordisk South Africa)South Africans must educate themselves about the risks of obesity or being inactive, Nonceba Molwele of the City of Johannesburg recently said at a diabetes awareness month event held in Newtown.According to a press release, Molwele, the Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development Councillor, gave a speech at the end of a three-day, 1 600km Novo Nordisk Cycle 4 Diabetes Relay Race at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, on Saturday 7 November 2015 to help raise funds for children with type 1 diabetes in George, Western Cape.At the ceremony, Novo Nordisk, a global healthcare company, in partnership with the City of Johannesburg, handed over a cheque of R200 000 to the relay team to pass on to the children. Vehicle manufacturer Chevrolet also donated R50 000 to the fund.Watch and learn how the Novo Nordisk race started in South Africa:WHY THE RACE?Sixteen cyclists – from Team Novo Nordisk, Team C4D, Team Bonitas, Team Bestmed and Team Iron Man – and 10 from the City of Johannesburg took part in the race. It started in Johannesburg on Thursday, 5 November, and proceeded to KwaZulu-Natal via Mpumalanga and finally back to Johannesburg on Saturday morning.The non-stop race was aimed at raising funds for the children ahead of World Diabetes Day on 14 November, create diabetes awareness and encourage communities to screen and test for the disease. This is the fourth year that the race has been held.Watch children under the age of 12 talk about living with diabetes and showing how they test themselves:ABOUT WORLD DIABETES DAYWorld Diabetes Day is commemorated on 14 November each year with its primary goal to bring awareness to the “silent killer” known as diabetes. It was introduced in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization in response to the alarming rise of diabetes around the world. The day itself marks the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best and John James Rickard Macleod, first conceived the idea which led to the discovery of insulin in 1922.According to the International Diabetes Federation, the key messages for World Diabetes Day this year is:Act to change your life today: Healthy eating is an important part of managing all types of diabetes.Act to change the world tomorrow: Access to affordable healthy food is essential to reducing the global burden of diabetes and ensuring global sustainable development.SIGNS OF DIABETESAccording to Novo Nordisk, more than 2 million South Africans are diagnosed with the illness, but most of the population do not know they have diabetes.There are three types of diabetes, including gestational diabetes, a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy. Both mother and child have an increased risk of developing diabetes in the future.Signs and symptoms of include an unusual thirst, frequent urination, unusual weight loss, extreme fatigue or lack of energy. To learn more about diabetes, read more here.