Over the past 40 years or so, the number of people with diabetes has jumped from 100 million to more than 500 million, with a similar rise in associated health problems.
It’s a serious health issue that’s getting worse, so researchers are looking into the underlying issues behind this trend.
According to a new type 2 diabetes study, one such problem is likely diet, which accounts for 95% of all cases.
The researchers analyzed data from 184 countries collected between 1990 and 2018, extracting statistics from public health databases, historical studies and population demographic records. The team found that malnutrition may be responsible for up to 14.1 million cases of type 2 diabetes diagnosed in 2018, about 70% of new diagnoses worldwide.
Of 11 different dietary factors, three were the most important: not enough whole grains, too much refined rice and wheat, and too much processed meat. Other factors, such as not eating enough nuts or non-starchy vegetables, seem to have less of an impact.
“Our study shows that poor-quality carbohydrates are the leading cause of diet-related type 2 diabetes worldwide, with significant variation by country and time,” says Dariusz Mozaffarian, MD, cardiologist and professor of nutrition at Tufts University. in Massachusetts.
Researchers have found that poor nutrition is more clearly associated with diabetes in men than in women, and appears to have a greater impact on young people than older people, and in urban rather than rural areas.
Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia were the regions where the majority of cases of type 2 diabetes were diet related, possibly due to the prevalence of red meat and processed meat in the average diet. The numbers were also high in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“These new findings reveal important areas for national and global efforts to improve nutrition and reduce the devastating burden of diabetes,” says Mozaffarian.
All 184 countries included in the study experienced an increase in the incidence of diabetes during the study period, suggesting that this is a global problem, as only a few countries have managed to reduce the increase in the incidence of diabetes in their populations.
The researchers suggest that different approaches will be needed in different countries — from more emphasis on healthy eating by teachers to improved food labels — to start making a difference.
While previous research has also linked less healthy eating to more diabetes cases, this is the strongest link to date and for the highest percentage of cases. Without serious intervention, this problem will only get worse.
“Left unchecked and with a predicted high incidence of type 2 diabetes, it will continue to affect population health, economic productivity, health care system capacity and health,” says Megan O’Hearn, a nutritional epidemiologist at Food Systems at the Institute. future in Illinois. “And it will lead to health inequalities around the world. These results can help set the nutritional priorities of doctors, policy makers and the private sector as they promote healthy food choices that are responsive to this global pandemic.”
The study was published in the journal Nature Medicine.
Source: Science Alert
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