“Sweets are not the best way to Express love”: why is the number of people with diabetes growing in the world
Worldwide, the number of diabetics is growing. As the co-Chairman of the Council for the development of strategies in the field of health at the world economic forum, Vice-President of the Danish pharmaceutical company Nils Lund, the lifestyle of people directly affects the incidence. He called the risk groups that are particularly prone to diabetes, and also explained why it is not necessary to pamper children with sweets.
“Sweets are not the best way to Express love”: why is the number of people with diabetes growing in the world”
— How would you describe the current situation with diabetes in the world?
— Over the past 20 years, the proportion of people with diabetes has increased from 4.5% to 9%. There are two main reasons for this. First, there are more people with diabetes because their life expectancy has increased. Secondly, people in principle began to live longer, and age is one of the factors of this disease.
There are several countries where diabetes and obesity rates are higher than others. These are, in particular, the US, Mexico, middle Eastern countries. But in General, this problem is relevant for the whole world. — What groups of people are at risk and why?
— Let me remind you that there are several types of diabetes. Diabetes mellitus type 1 (DM1) occurs when the body begins to destroy the cells of the pancreas that produces insulin. It occurs suddenly, as a rule, in children and adolescents, and the reasons for its appearance are not completely clear. If left untreated, the prognosis is even worse than with HIV/AIDS: a child with DM1 will live no longer than a year.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2) is more related to lifestyle. The most vulnerable are people with low incomes and low levels of education living in disadvantaged areas.
The urban population is more susceptible to diabetes: when people move from rural areas, they get an education, a better paid job. They are growing well-being, but at the same time and the level of stress. People can afford to buy a car, respectively, significantly reduced physical activity. Add to this the availability of fast food and other unhealthy food — and now all the prerequisites for overweight, obesity and, as a consequence, diabetes. In addition, one of the factors leading to diabetes is Smoking.
However, there are factors that we can not change, unlike the way of life. Among these factors — age (the older the person, the higher the risk of diabetes), race, genetics. But the risks become even higher if we do not exercise and do not follow the diet.
— What are the most effective ways to combat diabetes now and is it possible in principle to defeat this disease?
— The main methods of prevention are known. They relate to bad habits, food and physical activity. This is particularly important if the country, for example, aims to increase the average life expectancy of the population to at least 80 years.
But changing the way of life is not so easy. Ask smokers if it is easy for them to break their bad habit. I think they will all say that they would like to quit, but it is very difficult. So in order to change the way of life, it requires not only their own efforts, but also the help of family, friends, colleagues, doctors and even the authorities.
Another nuance is that you have to set yourself small but achievable goals to which you can gradually move — in Danish we would say “eat the elephant piece by piece”. For example, if you have not done regular sports, you will not be able to immediately run five kilometers. But perhaps you will be able to walk two kilometers, in a couple of days — for three kilometers and a little run and so on.
— How are things with diabetes in Russia? Is our country different in this respect from the rest of the world?
— In Russia, the official incidence of diabetes is quite low — about 4.5 million people. I think this is affected by two factors. The first is a relatively low life expectancy: accordingly, the fewer elderly people, the less common diabetes (in Moscow, 90% of people with diabetes are older than 55 years). The second — a lot of people (about 50% of patients) do not know about their disease. This situation is typical for the whole world.
As I mentioned, the most important risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes are overweight and obesity, which affects more than 66% of the adult population of Russia. It is important to control your weight, but it is equally important to lead an active lifestyle. The numbers on the scales are not the only thing you need to focus on, because you can be thin and not be in good physical shape — and Vice versa. Weight control plus activity is a combination that will significantly reduce the risks of type 2 diabetes.
— In Russia, grandmothers often feed their grandchildren, especially fatty or sweet food. Does this contribute to the development of diabetes in the country?
— If we are talking about SD2, which is associated with overweight and obesity, in this regard, Russia is not alone.
In China, Denmark — in any country of the world grandparents pamper their grandchildren with sweets. This is a universal problem — or advantage, when viewed from a child’s perspective. Of course, we must work with the older generation, to explain that food in General and sweets in particular — not the best and not the only way to Express their love. Perhaps, playing with children and grandchildren, just doing something together, you will achieve more.