Diabetes equals the rich and the poor – a global problem

Diabetes test, Mauritius. Credit: Nasim Akbarali / IPS
  • By Bruno Capa (Nairobi)
  • Inter Press Service

In fact, people in industrialized countries tend to eat so-called “junk food”, while in poor countries, diabetes is caused by malnutrition and malnutrition.

And it’s a serious health problem. Indeed, worldwide, an estimated 422 million adults were living with diabetes as of 2014, up from 108 million in 1980. Since then, the numbers have doubled.

Now take a closer look: one person has diabetes every five seconds … one person dies of diabetes every 10 seconds … one organ suffers from diabetes every 30 seconds.

The rate at which diabetes has nearly doubled worldwide since 1980 is that it has increased from 4.7% to 8.5% in the adult population.

This reflects an increase in related risk factors, such as being overweight or obese, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

What is it about?

The WHO defines diabetes as a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas does not make enough insulin, or when the body cannot use the insulin it produces effectively. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar.

It increases the concentration of glucose in the blood (hyper-glycemia).

Types of diabetes

Type 1 diabetes (Formerly known as insulin-dependent or early-onset diabetes) is characterized by a lack of insulin production.

Type 2 diabetes (Formerly called non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes) occurs due to ineffective use of insulin in the body. This is often the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity.

Gestational diabetes Hyper-glycemia, which is first recognized during pregnancy, has higher blood glucose levels than normal but is less likely to diagnose diabetes.

Women with gestational diabetes are at risk for complications during pregnancy and childbirth. These women and possibly their babies also have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.


The United Nations has repeatedly warned that diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and lower extremities.

Why? Hyper-glycemia or high blood sugar is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many systems of the body, especially nerves and blood vessels.

Between 2000 and 2016, the premature mortality rate from diabetes increased by 5%. And in 2019, an estimated 1.5 million deaths were caused directly by diabetes. In 2012, high blood glucose caused another 2.2 million deaths.

Rapid growth in low- and middle-income countries

Over the past decade, the incidence of diabetes has risen faster in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries.

The Middle East and North Africa have been hit the hardest by poor diet. In this region, people include “junk food” in their diet as well as high-carbohydrate, high-sugar pastries and sugary drinks.

Obesity and Diabetes: Causes and Effects

Excess weight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat deposits that can harm health.

The Body Mass Index is a general indicator of height for weight that is commonly used to classify overweight and obese adults. It is divided by the weight of a person in kilograms by the square meter of his height (kg / m2).

The World Health Organization reports the following data and statistics:

  • Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.

  • In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years of age or older, were overweight. Of these, more than 650 million were obese.

  • In 2016, 39% of adults 18 years of age or older were overweight and 13% were obese.

  • Most of the world’s population lives in countries where overweight and obesity kill more people than underweight.

  • By 2020, 39 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese.

  • In 2016, more than 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese.

Diabetes care access

World Diabetes Day is celebrated on November 14 every year. The theme for World Diabetes Day 2021-23 is Access to Diabetes Care.

According to it, 100 years after the discovery of insulin, millions of people with diabetes worldwide are unable to access the care they need. People with diabetes need ongoing care and support to manage their condition and avoid complications.

A healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use are ways to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

In view of the above, changes in nutritional habits seem to be a matter of life or death.

© Inter Press Service (2021) – All Rights ReservedSource: Inter Press Service

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