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  • Writer's pictureKaren Graham

A Global Type 2 Diabetes Crisis

Updated: Nov 7, 2021

Click the link below to listen to the informative Diabetes Podcast by DiabeticSavvy with Karen Graham that covers a variety of topics including challenges of diabetes and the global diabetes crisis.

Type 2 diabetes is one of the fastest-growing global health emergencies. Diabetes affects both rich and poor countries. 463 million adults have diabetes. That is 9% of the people in the world. The International Diabetes Federation predicts in their 2019 Diabetes Atlas 9th Edition that without enough action to address the pandemic, that in ten years one in ten people in the world will have diabetes.

Right now, 8 out of 10 people in the world who have diabetes live in low income to middle income countries. China, India, USA, Pakistan and Brazil have the largest number of adults with diabetes in the world. In these countries, there has been an increase in processed food and a decrease in exercise. Diabetes affects people with low income but also follows people with wealth in the new and growing middle class.

There are many factors that contribute to this rise in diabetes, but mostly changes to our food and exercise environment.

  • We sit in front of screens for long hours every day. Where we used to walk or bicycle for hours, we now get around by motorized moped, car, truck, train or transit.

  • We drink juice, soft drinks and other sugared drinks instead of water when we are thirsty. Even in rural villages of Africa or Mexico, bottled pop is everywhere. Sudan has the world’s third highest prevalence of type 2 diabetes.

  • We eat at home less and we eat more processed and restaurant high-fat and high-sugar food.

The Diabetes Atlas ends with:

Despite the stark truth the data represent, there is a positive message: With early diagnosis and access to appropriate care, diabetes can be managed and its complications prevented. Furthermore, type 2 diabetes can often be prevented and there is compelling evidence to suggest it can be reversed in some cases. They recommend: establishing national diabetes plans and achieving universal health coverage by 2030.

In spite of the overwhelming statistics, we need to start today with one step at a time.

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