An official has expressed concern that an increasing number of teenagers are developing type 2 diabetes which is normally associated with older people.
President of the St. Lucia Diabetic and Hypertension Association, George Eugene, said when 12, 14 and 15 year olds are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes “then there is a serious problem”.
He said a lot of children do not exercise anymore.
“In my days we used to walk four to six miles to go to school and back again. Now they have all kinds of transportation, and i have seen young people getting on the bus from a bus stop and the next bus stop they getting off. They just refuse to exercise, they refuse to work,” Eugene said.
“We are doing what we see on the television, adopting other person’s lifestyle instead of our own. Our children have become very lazy in terms of them having all the equipment; all the gadgets and all the phones and computers, and they are constantly on them.
“If you go into a typical home the father is in one room with the computer, the mother is somewhere else, the children is somewhere else. No one is saying ‘come lets walk in the yard and go down the road for five minutes’. Everybody is busy doing what they are doing and this is a serious problem. We need to be more active, we need to get out and do something. You are never too old to do something, even if you are suffering from problems with your leg or whatever. You can sit and move your legs and your arms and that itself can suffice, but we do nothing and we wait until it is too late and we wonder why we did not do something.”
Eugene explained that diabetes is 80 percent hereditary.
“If your mother has it you may escape it, but your son or any other offspring will eventually end up with it. What we are asking people to do is take better care of themselves, do more exercise, eat better, don’t just eat or drink anything but eat and drink what is good for you. You can prolong the onset of diabetes by diet and exercise. You can prolong it. I am not saying you are not going to get diabetes but you can prolong it to an older age,” he said.
Eugene went on to explain his Association’s plans for Diabetes Awareness Month.
“Well November we stepped up and did a number of things we don’t normally do throughout the year. Although we should have activities all throughout but we concentrate on the month of November because World Diabetes Day is the 14th of November and so we do a number of activities. In some countries they do one week but we do a month of activities for a number of areas so that we can educate persons about the concerns about diabetes for the St. Lucia Diabetes Association.”
He further explained: “The plans for the Association for diabetes and wellness is that we have a lot of radio and television programs. We have a couple of major activities. We have the moonlight walk which is going to be in Castries and Vieux-Fort which we did last year. We have well over 400 persons in those walks and we expect over 600 this time in those two walks.
“We have Castries, Bexon and Vieux-Fort, through the streets of Vieux Fort, and we end up in the square of Vieux Fort. We encourage persons to come out and support like they did last year but we are inviting a lot more. We are writing to corporate partners and clubs asking them to participate in this program this year so that we can do something together.
“Diabetes is not only a problem of the person who is suffering from diabetes, it is a problem of all of us. We have to take control and take charge, everybody has to be the next person’s keeper, brother’s keeper. We have to help each other. We must help each other, we do have a plan afoot but again it is going to take the finances that we really don’t have at the moment, but if we do nothing we will not be in the position to help the persons that we need to help. We need a lot more persons trained in foot care, we need a lot more in others that we feel is important so that persons can get a relief from diabetes.”