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Bad dietary habits may lead to global increase in diabetes

High Body Mass Index, dietary risks, environmental and occupational risks, tobacco use, alcohol use, and low physical activity will contribute to factors that could lead to 1·31 billion people living with diabetes by 2050 worldwide.

This is according to The Lancet report titled ‘Diabetes: A defining disease of the 21st century.’

According to an online portal, News Medical, BMI is a measurement of a person’s weight with respect to his or her height. It is more of an indicator than a direct measurement of a person’s total body fat.

“BMI, more often than not, correlates with total body fat. This means that as the BMI score increases, so does a person’s total body fat,” it stated.

The Lancet report noted that the increase in prevalence is expected to be driven by increases in type 2 diabetes.

Junk food high in calories and sugar but low in nutrients

The report read in part, “The increase in prevalence (up from 529 million in 2021) is expected to be driven by increases in type 2 diabetes, which in turn will be caused by a rise in the prevalence of obesity and by demographic shifts.

In 2021, type 2 diabetes accounted for 90 per cent of all diabetes prevalence. Most of this burden is attributable to social risk factors—such as high BMI, dietary risks, environmental and occupational risks, tobacco use, alcohol use, and low physical activity—that thrive on the obesogenic way our environments are designed and the inequitable way we organise our resources and societies.

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Good foods for diabetes

“Timed to coincide with the American Diabetes Association’s 83rd Scientific Session, The Lancet and The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology publish a Series on Global Inequity in Diabetes.

Two papers—one global and one focused on the USA—together tell the unhappy and inequitable story of diabetes. By 2045, as many as three in four adults with diabetes will be living in low-income and middle-income countries.

“Currently, only 10 per cent of people with diabetes living in these countries receive guideline-based diabetes care. Regardless of economic category, in every country, those who are discriminated against and marginalised suffer the most and worst consequences of diabetes. In the USA, where the burden of type 2 diabetes in young people has nearly doubled in the past 20 years, the highest burden is seen among Black or Indigenous American populations.”

The Lancet experts said diabetes will be a defining disease of this century.

“How the health community deals with diabetes in the next two decades will shape population health and life expectancy for the next 80 years. The world has failed to understand the social nature of diabetes and underestimated the true scale and threat the disease poses,” they added.

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