When you take into account the fact that 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 gone by there was a general assumption that diabetes was a condition which was more common in those with lower incomes than those at the higher end of the salary 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, areas of the world where economic prosperity has been around for some time. It is also worth noting that diabetes is now a major problem in South America where the economies of countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, etc have performed admirably in recent times. So, is there a link between economic prosperity and diabetes?
One thing which is becoming more and more obvious is the fact that there is less and less time for leisure activities amongst the worldwide workforce as employment takes an ever tighter grip on your everyday life. This has forced many people to eat on the move, ignore their exercise regime and have very little in the way of rest time which is vital to replenish the body.
You only have to look at the fact that 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?
If you look back 20 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, especially bearing in mind the ongoing economic difficulties around the world, the situation has turned full circle and we are now working more hours per week than we were 20 years ago and due to these concerns there is significantly less leisure time available for the vast majority of us. Where does this leave us with regards to our exercise regimes?
After a long day at work haps 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 after relaxing in the evening and very often the last thing you want to do is to go to the gym or 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. If we are honest, how many of us exercise as much as we should on a weekly basis?
Tweaking your daily activities to make a difference
If we take a step back and look at the onset of diabetes it is perhaps not difficult to see that reduced exercise time and perhaps a lower quality diet than we would ultimately choose 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?
If you look at these suggestions on their own they are very small changes to your everyday life but if you put them all together and take more control of your exercise regime and your diet, the results could be dramatic. It is estimated that the number of diabetics around the world will increase enormously over the next 20 or 30 years and indeed 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.
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There is no doubt that the traditional working day has changed dramatically over the last 20 years, there is less leisure time, there is less exercise time, there is less relaxation time and very often our diet is not what we would hope. The ongoing increase in the number of type II diabetics perfectly illustrates the change in lifestyle many of us have experienced over the last 20 years but it does not necessarily mean we have to remain at risk.
If we are honest with ourselves, the fact is that many of us know we do not have the most healthy diet, we do not exercise as much as we should do and relaxation time can often be little and far between. Just a few small changes in your daily routine can have a major impact upon your overall physical health, mental health as well as potentially reducing your chances of developing diabetes.
It is in your hands…………………..