These days, many awareness campaigns focus on increasing exercise to reduce the risk of developing diabetes. However, experts are looking forward to sending a message from another point of view: the need to reduce sedentariness, a “red carpet” towards obesity—the most important risk factor of diabetes.
A study that took a sample of 50,277 women who were participating in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) (a federal prospective health study that began in 1976 in the United States, including 121,700 women from 11 states) revealed that some forms of sedentariness increase the risk of suffering from diabetes. After comparing the most sedentary activities, including sewing, board games, and reading, among others, the one that had the worst impact was watching TV.
During a 6 year period they assessed this group of women—who did not suffer obesity or any cardiovascular disease—asking them weekly about their daily activities: how much time they spent sitting at home, what chores they performed, and how much they walked each day. They were also asked about sports they participated in.
At the end of the study, they completed a statistical analysis of the information gathered and concluded that women who watched TV for longer periods of time were more likely to smoke, drink alcoholic beverages, and have a lower physical activity level. They also had a higher calorie intake and unhealthy eating habits.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association( JAMA), 3,757 of the over 50,000 women were considered obese during the study. It was proved that time spent watching TV was the only independent risk factor directly associated to weight gain. The authors of this study explained that the risk increased together with the number of hours spent watching TV. They also affirmed that by just walking around the house or standing up for more time, a 10% decrease in the risk of obesity was found.
The study’s conclusion was that a sedentary lifestyle, and especially the habit of watching TV, is associated directly to the development of type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form of this disease. Now, experts are emphasizing not only an increase in physical activity, but also a decrease in sedentary habits.
For this reason, we wish to motivate you to make small changes that will give you great results. Walk around the house; pick up the kid’s toys . . . no complaints! Sweep the floor, dance, cut the lawn--all these activities will help you reduce the risk of suffering a chronic condition.
This year’s World Diabetes Day has the motto “Many faces of diabetes,” with the idea of focusing on the many aspects of the disease including new ways of preventing it, nutrition novelties, and emotional factors. The permanent goal of the campaign is the promotion of tests to detect the disease in its early stages (“pre-diabetes”), when it is easier to manage.
The trigger for diabetes is a decrease in the production of insulin or a deficiency in the body’s ability to use it correctly. Insulin is a hormone that is necessary for transforming sugars, starches, and other foods into the energy we need to perform our daily activities. There are two types of diabetes, which are categorized as type 1 or type 2. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of this disease, while type 1 is known as “insulin dependent diabetes,” and requires daily doses of insulin.
From the public health point of view, diabetes is currently considered an epidemic, related to the abrupt increase in obesity. One of the most conclusive and alarming signals is the appearance of this disease in earlier stages of life. According to the International Obesity Task Force, almost half of the children of the United States of America and Latin America will be overweight or obese by the year 2010. This dramatic increase will result in a similar increase in the number of diabetes cases.
Worldwide, diabetes affects 246 million people, and this number might rise up to 380 million by 2025. Every 10 seconds, a person dies due to complications of diabetes. In the United States, 20 million people suffer from this disease, but only 1 out of 3 have been diagnosed.
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) established November 14 as the World Diabetes Day, in an effort to transmit a message of awareness, prevention, and control of the disease. The date was chosen as a tribute to the physiologist Frederik Grant Banting, who was born on November 14, 1891, and was the first to isolate insulin, 30 years later.
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