What can we as health professionals do to protect current and future generations from the risk of developing type 2 diabetes?


IDF estimates that nearly 400 million adults currently have diabetes and at current trends this will rise to nearly 600 million over the next 20 years. The vast majority of this increase will be people with type 2 diabetes, resulting from modern lifestyles characterised by unhealthy diets, high sugar intake and insufficient physical activity. We know that lifestyle modification can prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. However, changing individuals’ behaviour is very difficult in environments in which unhealthy foods are cheap and more heavily promoted than healthy options, and in which predominantly sedentary lifestyles are the norm.

Therefore, I would like to ask you; what is, according to you, the most effective way of preventing the new cases of type 2 diabetes? Should we be encouraging individuals to change their behaviours, or societies to change their environments? What is the role of health professionals in prevention? And what is the role of the International Diabetes Federation?

Looking forward to reading your views and experiences!
What can we as health professionals do to protect current and future generations from the risk of developing type 2 diabetes?


Interesting subject and my views would be as follows -First,
we need a paradigm shift in the manner in which disjointed public policy
relating to the availability of cheap unhealthy foods, food
manufacturers that add huge amounts of sugar to food preparations and do
not declare this, physical activity that is either limited by
resources, where you live or other long term conditions or selling off
school playgrounds, policies on environment and what shops are allowed
to operate in your neighborhood - making it easier, convenient and if
you are in poverty, cheaper to buy a bucket of fried chicken and
everything else that comes with it to feed the family. I could go on
-but without a paradigm shift not much will change and we seriously
underestimate the level of ignorance on the make up of food and its
consequences in a number of communities. Community based education that
is culturally specific desperately needs investment - where is this
going to come from?The second paradigm shift is the relationship
between the Individual and the health care professional. Whose
responsibility is to do what is never clearly understood by a range of
communities - pressures of service quite often lead to limited time
engagement with the Individual - this benefits no one and creates a
situation where the Individual feels the healthcare professional is not
interested and the health care professional feeling that the Individual
is not doing enough to look after themslevesThe third issue is
the need for large scale investment in actual behaviour change
techniques, followed by longitudinal studies of what works and why?There
are a number of health campaigns that have achieved considerable
progress over the years - take smoking as an example -sustained
campaigns and policy changes with behaviour change strategies - created
the paradigm shift in the UK.IDF should be campaigning and
empowering its chapters across the Globe to begin making this shift
-engaging politicians, food manufacturers , citizens and children to
ensure that the next generation are as best prepared to deal with the
lifestyle changes that are going to be forced upon us -through the
changing nature of work - What unites the Federation?