An international team of researchers led by Harvard Medical School, and included scientists from the World Health Organization (WHO), University of Ulsan College of Medicine in South Korea, the University of California, Emory University and the Imperial College London have released a startling new statistic: the number of people diagnosed with diabetes is now 347 million worlwide. Yes, you read that correctly, three hundred and forty-seven million people are diabetic.
The findings, which were published in the 25 June 2011 issue of the Lancet, are based on health examinations surveys and epidemiological studies collected from 2.7 million participants from North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Oceania.
Scientists then used a model to calculate mean fasting plasma glucose (a test that measures sugar concentrations in the blood) and diabetes prevalence for adults 25 years of age and older in 199 nations and territories around the world.
Their analysis found that rapid population growth and ageing had the greatest impact on the increased prevalence of diabetes around the world. Principle investigator Dr. Goodarz Danaei of the Harvard School of Public Health and his colleagues said the findings show that "'Effective preventative interventions are needed, and health systems should prepare to detect and manage diabetes and its sequelae."
Living Fit, Healthy and Happy has written extensively on diabetes. We've pointed out that diabetes increases your risk of blindness, stroke, metabolic syndrome and premature death. We've also pointed out the relationship between poor nutrition, physical inactivity and diabetes.
Last weekend I was having an online conversation with a health blogger who expressed concern that public health is declining because of misunderstandings about exercise.
Even though the topic of diabetes didn't come up in our conversation, the increased prevalence of diabetes around the globe makes the issue of exercise all the more important.
Three hundred and forty-seven million people is more than the entire population of the United States. If you're under the impression that Americans are not affected by this disease, think again: earlier this year we reported on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's estimate that 28 million Americans have been diagnosed with type I or type II diabetes, with 80 million people suffering from pre-diabetes.
All of these statistics are very troubling. Diabetes is likely to affect you or someone that you know. So I have an exercise for you. Take a long, hard look at your life and then honestly answer the following questions:
- What are you doing to lower your risk of developing diabetes?
- What are you doing to enhance the quality of food that you and your family consume?
- What are you doing to make sure that you and your family get enough physical exercise each week?
Diabetes is a largely preventable disease. It is a condition that can be managed through proper medical care and healthy lifestyle, but you should also be aware that medical science has yet to discover a cure for it. Keep these facts in mind for the sake of you and your loved ones.
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Danaei et al. National, regional, and global trends in fasting plasma glucose and diabetes prevalence since 1980: systematic analysis of health examination surveys and epidemiological studies with 370 country-years and 2.7 million participants. Lancet. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60679 - X
"Diabetes Now Tops 347 Million People Worldwide, International Research Study Finds" copyright © 2011 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.