Preventing type 2 diabetes requires transformation of our environments
Across the world, type 2 diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate. I am currently in Bermuda, which like many small islands, has a particularly high rate of diabetes. Just a short time here is enough to highlight how the environment is promoting the rise in type 2 diabetes.
While there have been some small steps to transform the diabetogenic environment, much more needs to be done to transform the food and physical environments in which we live in order to improve the health of the public.
How big is the problem?
The most recent edition of the International Diabetes Federation’s IDF Atlas estimated there were 415 million adults living with diabetes in 2015, an increase from 151 million in 2000. The great majority of that increase is due to the inexorable rise in cases of type 2 diabetes. This increase is occurring in just about every country in the world – diabetes is no longer a problem of rich societies. In fact, one of the most startling facts is how type 2 diabetes is increasing so rampantly in sub-Saharan Africa, an area that is predicted to see the largest increase in diabetes by 2040 of any global region.
Another sobering lesson is that the traditional explanation for the rise in type 2 diabetes in low-income countries is due to ‘urbanisation’; yet the most recent data suggest that the gap between urban and rural areas is narrowing, that the so-called diabetogenic environment is spreading out from the cities. The IDF Atlas also reveals the ‘island phenomenon’, with some of the highest prevalence rates being found in small islands, most notably in some o Continue reading