As always, let’s start by rolling out a few facts about diabetes (source: World Health Organization WHO):
- Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.
- Globally, the number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.
- In 2015, an estimated 1.6 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes. Another 2.2 million deaths were attributable to high blood glucose in 2012.
- Almost half of all deaths attributable to high blood glucose occur before the age of 70 years.
- Diabetes can be treated, and its consequences avoided or delayed with diet, physical activity, medication and regular screening and treatment for complications.
It’s safe to say that we all each know one person in our life who has diabetes, and it is worrying that those people are at high risk of heart attacks and kidney failures to name a few.
Prevention of diabetes and its complications
Health experts have always said that in order to prevent diabetes and its complications, one should maintain a healthy body weight, eat a healthy diet, avoid smoking and be physically active - at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days.
New study (again) proves that physical activity helps in diabetes prevention
Today, yet another study has proven the importance of regular physical exercise to prevent diabetes.
A research team led by experts from the University of Birmingham studied the lifestyles of 44,828 Chinese adults, between 20 and 80 years old, who had been recently diagnosed with impaired fasting glucose or IFG which is an early warning signal for type 2 diabetes affecting one in four Chinese adults.
They found that exercising more could see seven million fewer diabetic patients across mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
That’s 7,000,000 potentially healthy people!
The researchers discovered that the higher the levels of leisure-time exercise such as walking, jogging or running, the lower the risk of diabetes in high-risk individuals.
"About one fifth of the observed diabetes cases which developed could have been avoided if inactive individuals had engaged in WHO recommended levels of exercise,” said Professor Neil Thomas.
"However, more than three-quarters of Chinese adults do not perform sufficient physical activity to reap such health benefits. Our findings emphasize the urgent need to promote physical activity as a strategy for diabetes prevention."
So, what now?
Simple acts of fitness can help prevent diabetes and other chronic diseases like heart disease and cancers.
Walking, running or jogging is 100% free.
Aside from investing in a good pair of shoes, you don’t need any expensive tools or gym memberships to go for a walk.
Do it for yourself and do it for your loved ones.