World Diabetes Day 2016
This year, World Diabetes Day was unlike any other!
While type 2 Diabetes is often viewed as a disease that affects only the older generation, there has been a spike in the number of cases involving young people over the past couple of years. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes, “In the past, type 2 diabetes was most prevalent in older adults. But due to widespread poor lifestyle habits, it’s more common in younger people than ever before.”
A study by the American Diabetes Association found that, at current rates, the number of people under the age of 20 with type 2 diabetes could increase by up to 49 percent by 2050. If the rates of incidence continue to increase, the number of type 2 cases in young people could quadruple.
While there are many factors, such as genetics, that contribute to type 2 diabetes, it generally results from a culmination of poor eating habits, lack of physical exercise and health issues. Specific factors can increase your personal risk, but an unhealthy lifestyle is the broader issue in most cases!
Another survey, carried out by Sanofi on young adults aged between 18 and 34 years old, showed a lack of education about diabetes. They were found to be less likely to consider the condition as a serious health problem.
Just 74% of those under 34 years of age classified diabetes as a ‘serious disease’, while 54% said that becoming reliant on insulin injections if diagnosed was the “end of the road”.
Education is one of the best methods of combating diabetes. If people know how to avoid type 2 diabetes they can work to reduce their risk of developing it.
With diabetes rates rising across the globe, more education given early on can help to combat the issue before it becomes a global health catastrophe.
It was with these worrying facts and statistics in mind that the APSA team, in collaboration with the University of Mauritius and with the support of the Circle Charitable Trust, executed a full day of screening, testing and education for university students.
Dozens of pink clad APSA personnel as well as volunteers from the Lions Club of Beau Bassin – Rose Hill, manned the University’s “Raised Plaza” giving out pamphlets, engaging people in animated conversation, and directing them to the APSA team where nurses, health educators and medical specialists were stationed at testing stations and information stands.
Despite the sweltering heat, hundreds of young students from all walks of life queued up to test their blood glucose levels, check their Body Mass Index and Blood Pressure, receive nutritional advice and get their feet checked.
Currently, diabetes affects over 260,000 people in Mauritius, and frighteningly that number is growing. This year, World Diabetes Day was not only about raising awareness on how prevalent diabetes is in Mauritius but also worldwide, it was also about equipping and empowering young people in Mauritius to take their health into their own hands and do something about it.
There are of course many factors contributing to this epidemic such as lack of enough physical activity and bad eating habits which have become all too common problems over the last few decades, especially for young adults (18-34 years).
Therefore, the APSA team placed a special emphasis on food and nutrition this year in an effort to raise awareness and get people thinking. The “Size Matters” stand discussed the importance of properly measuring our portion sizes, while “Plate Your Meal” addressed the issue of having a balanced diet and eating from all the different food groups found in the ‘food pyramid’.
The event also included Body Mass Index tests, Blood Glucose tests and Blood Pressure tests, as well as the Foot Care Karavan treating all those with diabetes related foot complications.
The final stop was the “Degustation” station, where the dietitian showcased innovative recipes for desserts in the “Something Sweet” section and finishing up with the “Try Something Different” station, introducing high fiber brown bread baked and supplied by Les Moulins de La Concorde and low GI rice generously donated by Mighty Rice Mauritius Ltd.
Overall the day was a huge success with 400 people tested.
While the response was positive, it was merely a dent in the continuing fight against type 2 diabetes in Mauritius. Let us not give up the fight and let us be all the more persistent in our actions to make a difference. Let’s take our health into our own hands and do something about making healthier lifestyle choices so that we can shape a better future for generations to come.
#wdd2016 #eyesondiabetes #stopdiabetes
You can watch the MBC World Diabetes Day 2016 APSA feature or read more about our World Diabetes Day actions in an article by Le Mauricien by clicking on the icons below: