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Saturday 22nd October 2016

Type 2 diabetes can be avoided

17th November 2009

Writing in The Guardian, strategy consultant Neville Rigby, a former director of policy and public affairs at the International Obesity Task Force, says we must do better than drug therapy to beat diabetes.


Diabetes is regarded as one of the downsides of obesity, but it is more than one disease.

Type 1 diabetes is the sort that suddenly hits children and younger people when their body no longer produces insulin to regulate blood sugar levels and can mean daily injections for life.

But when we talk about the consequences of obesity, we are referring to type 2 diabetes which accounts for more than 90% of diabetes worldwide.

The theme of World Diabetes Day recently was education and prevention, and while that may be a little late for those with it already, WHO research experts estimate diabetes cases will double to 366m by 2030, compared with 171m in 2000.

That’s why taking steps to address weight is so important and there is now ample evidence that type 2 diabetes can be avoided.

Evidence published in The Lancet has confirmed the remarkable effect of changing diet and exercise habits and that it is more powerful than the commonly prescribed drug treatment with metformin.

In the early stages, such a lifestyle change reduced the incidence of diabetes by 58%, compared with 31% for the drug.

While it may be too late for those with type 2 diabetes, it shows that we need not accept that a doubling of diabetes is inevitable. Education and prevention resulting in intensive lifestyle changes can also be a lifesaver.


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