Sunday, February 24, 2013

Guest Post: Type 2 Diabetes: Closer Than We Think?

by Mark Benson

Lifestyle habits that lead to adult onset diabetes

The number of diabetics around the world has doubled over the last 30 years to just over 350 million people.  What has changed with regards to our lifestyle and why are so many people now in danger of developing diabetes?

Each and every day seems to bring another research report into diabetes which often concludes that a variety of lifestyle changes have encouraged the development of diabetes amongst many people. We have everything from speculation that drinking too much coffee increases the chances of developing diabetes to the fact that reduced exercise is also a major problem. So what exactly has changed over the last 30 years to more than double the number of people suffering from this potentially debilitating condition?

Is there a link between economic prosperity and diabetes?

In years past there was a belief that diabetes was more common in those with lower a financial status those at the higher end of that scale. There was also an assumption that the quality of your diet had a direct impact upon your chances of developing diabetes, but this does not always appear to be the case.

Diabetes is a major problem within Europe and also North America. It is also worth noting that diabetes is now a major problem in developing areas of South America. So, is there a link between economic prosperity and diabetes?

Dietary habits

There is less and less time for leisure activities amongst the worldwide workforce as our jobs demand more of our time.  Many of us eat on the go, forgo exercise and have very little of the rest time vital to replenish the body.

Approximately two thirds of the adult population in the USA have been impacted by obesity, diabetic numbers have trebled over the last 30 years in the USA and diabetes is a major problem from a cost perspective for the US administration. The same can be said of Mexico where we have seen a massive change in the overall health of the adult population with obesity a relatively small problem only a decade ago now impacting well over 50% of the Mexican adult population.

There is a growing concern that cheaper, fast foods have exacerbated the problem of diabetes which has in many ways prompted an explosion in type II diabetes, commonly referred to as a "lifestyle condition". The fact is that, in the eyes of many experts, type II diabetes is ultimately avoidable for the vast majority of people whereas type I diabetes is perhaps more genetically linked thereby reducing the impact of dietary changes and an improved exercise regime.

Do you exercise enough?

Twenty years ago there were some very ambitious forecasts with regards to work time v leisure time with many experts suggesting we would work less hours and have more relaxation time. If anything, we are now working more than we were twenty years ago and have less leisure time.  Where does this leave us with regards to our exercise regimes?

After a long day at work the first thing you want to do is sit down and relax in front of the television with some food and a drink. Very often it is difficult to motivate yourself  to exercise. We do need to push ourselves, we do need exercise and ultimately we do need fresh air not just for our physical well-being but also our mental well-being. Most of us do not exercise as much as we should on a weekly basis.

Tweaking your daily activities to make a difference

Obviously, reduced exercise and perhaps a lower than optimal diet are causing major problems. It is also evident that just a few small tweaks in our daily routine could have a dramatic impact upon our chances of developing type II diabetes.

Why not look at walking to work once a week? Why not get dropped off from work a short distance from your home and walk the rest of the way? Why not ensure you have a good breakfast in the morning and refrain from potentially unhealthy snacks throughout the day?

A few simple lifestyle changes can have dramatic results.  It is estimated that the number of diabetics around the world will increase enormously over the next twenty or thirty years and there have been suggestions that authorities such as the NHS in the UK could well be bankrupted due to the ever-growing cost of treating diabetes in years to come.


The ongoing increase in the number of type II diabetics perfectly illustrates the change in lifestyle many of us have experienced over the last twenty years but it does not necessarily mean we have to remain at risk.

Just a few small changes in our daily routines can have a major impact upon our overall physical health, mental health as well as potentially reducing our chance of developing diabetes.

It is our choice. . .

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1 comment:

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