Recent studies predict that the worldwide incidence of diabetes will increase by 60 percent to over 300 million cases by the year 2025. The overwhelming majority will be type 2 cases.
Non-genetic factors such as obesity, sedentary lifestyles, high-fat and high saturated fat diets are thought to be of principle importance.
For example, people now living in the larger cites of China are switching from walking and bicycling to driving automobiles. The result has been increases in obesity and diabetes as well as smog and traffic jams.
Can Type 2 Be Prevented?
The answer is, yes! The recently published NIH-sponsored Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) studied people with pre-diabetes to see if the progression to type 2 could be prevented or at least reduced. They assigned subjects to one of three groups: an intensive lifestyle group (individualized and intensive nutrition and exercise counseling), a group that would receive metformin therapy and a control group.Â The intensive lifestyle group had a goal of 30 minutes of exercise, such as walking, five days a week.
Those assigned to the intensive lifestyle group lost at least 7 percent of their body weight on this regimen. After an average of almost three years, this group had 58 percent fewer cases of type 2 diabetes than those in the placebo group. Those assigned to a metformin group did not do as well.
A similar three-year study for high-risk prediabetes patients in Finland also reported about a 60 percent reduction in the incidence of new cases of type 2 diabetes in those on an intensive weight-reducing program.
Start Them on Good Habits When They’re Young
Most specialists in this field believe that the time to act to prevent type 2 is in childhood, well before the adolescent years. If children can become physically active and learn to eat a healthful diet, their chances of becoming obese and developing type 2 will be markedly reduced.
However, these changes in eating and exercise need to be permanent lifestyle changes, or else the disease will only be delayed not prevented.
The “Diabesity Epidemic” – What Can You Do to Help Slow It Down?
- Improve your meal plan
Choose smaller portions and a better selection of foods
Get 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity daily
- Stick with healthy new eating and exercise habits
Make them a permanent part of your life, not temporary changes
- Change the lifestyles of your children and grandchildren
Ultimately, the best place for all of us to start is by setting a good example for our kids and grandkids
- Set a good example with our own behavior
This is the best teaching method for our children
Why Are We in a Type 2 Epidemic?
- An alarming increase in adult and childhood obesity
- “Westernized” diets
- Sedentary lifestyles
- Aging populations
- Genetic factors