If you are like me you probably thought diabetes is one of those things you have or don't have; nothing could be further from the truth because diabetes is now the biggest threat to health in the developed world and we are eating ourselves into it because of poor diet.
First question is how prevalent is diabetes? Using Australia as an example that has a total population of around 20 million inhabitants, in the last full year official figures show 70,000 people were diagnosed with diabetes during the year. That is equal to one extra person diagnosed every seven minutes 24/7.
At present 700,000 people are diagnosed with having diabetes and a conservative figure indicate that for each person diagnosed there is another that is not diagnosed but does suffer from diabetes. that is 1.4 million sufferers out of a total population of 20 million. - More than 5% and growing by the day. The organization Diabetes Australia forecast that by the year 2010 the number of sufferers could be close to 10% of population. This rate of increase is happening throughout the developed world and is caused by lack of exercise and poor diet. We could be quite cruel here and say that people are queuing to shorten their lifespan because diabetes does reduce your lifespan.
The answer to this epidemic is in the hands of each of us. We must exercise more and be more conscious of what we eat. Attention to diet should start from a very young age; in particular we should concentrate on serving sizes and avoiding fatty foods. Yes that does include every child's favorite burger and fries. Once a month does little harm if the children are active, once a week causes damage even if they are active.
We all need to be conscious of seven servings of fruit and vegetables each day in our diet and also the need to back a good diet with reasonable exercise, like walking. People most at risk of type 2 diabetes, the most common, are overweight and do not exercise. They may have high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol, if you fit this category ask your doctor to check for diabetes next time you visit.
I saved the scariest fact for last: The total number of people in Australia with diabetes or "pre-diabetes" is 3.2 million or 15.1% of the total population. Each of these people will have a reduced lifespan.