(GIS) – Obesity is one of the main risk factors for diabetes. In the Americas, the percentage of adults who are obese is more than twice the world average, with more women affected than men.
Healthy eating and an active lifestyle can help prevent or even reverse obesity, in turn preventing the onset of diabetes or helping to control it.
Diabetes is a progressive chronic disease characterized by high blood glucose levels. Type 2 diabetes—responsible for the majority of cases worldwide, and largely attributable to excessive bodyweight and physical inactivity—is increasing rapidly throughout the world. The number of people in the Americas with this disease has tripled since 1980.
Some 62 million adults in the Americas were living with type 2 diabetes and approximately 305,000 died from the disease in 2014, the latest year for which figures are available. Unless measures are taken to address the problem, it is estimated that by 2040 there will be over 100 million adults with diabetes, with adverse effects on quality of life that include heart attack, stroke, blindness, renal failure, and amputation of lower limbs.
In many countries, women are disproportionately affected by obesity. Accordingly, “Women and Diabetes—Our Right to a Healthy Future” was the theme of World Diabetes Day 2017, which was held on Nov. 14.
Pan American Health Organization Director, Carissa F. Etienne, stated: “The Region of the Americas has the highest levels of childhood obesity in the world, which means that in the future we will have more people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, however, these diseases are highly preventable. Commitment by all to ensure that children are breastfed, avoid foods high in fats, sugar, and salt, and engage in physical activity as a part of their daily routine is what is needed.”
In the Americas, no communicable diseases—principally cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases—are responsible for approximately 80 percent of all deaths, 35 percent of which are premature deaths in people between the ages of 30 and 70.