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Type 2 Diabetes- Are you next?

By: Aarti Patel Email By: Aarti Patel
November 2010
Type 2 Diabetes- Are you next?

A study, whose findings are published in the Ethnicity and Disease Journal, shows that Indians residing in the U.S. are more prone to developing diabetes than whites and immigrants from other Asian countries. According to this study, “South Asians, people from India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan, are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, than individuals in other Asian countries, consisting of those born in China, the Philippines, North and South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and other nations.”

Why is this? Is it because of our genetic inability to produce enough insulin or use it effectively to regulate blood sugar, or is it because of our higher percentage of body fat and less muscle mass? Maybe it’s our bulging waist circumferences or lack of physical activity, or our diet or a combination of all of those! Whatever the reason might be, diabetes is here to stay in our community unless we do something.

Now let me ask you this: When was the last time you exercised? Do you even exercise? If not, why not? And what about your diet? Do you pay close attention to what you are eating, or do you just mindlessly eat? Is your mindless eating contributing to a larger waist circumference? Do you even know what your waist circumference is? When was the last time you measured it? Here is the final question: Do you even care?

Some of us, even knowing the facts, tend to lack the initiative to take our health, physical fitness and nutrition seriously, and neglect to make changes. If we don’t care as a community, we will suffer. Not only will we suffer from diabetes, but also from a host of complications from diabetes such as nerve damage, kidney damage, cardiovascular issues, eye disease and infections. Diabetes can be a preventable disease only if we care.

Even though certain risk factors cannot be changed, such as our genes and ethnicity, our lifestyle is a very important risk factor that we do have control of and which can be changed, thus making us less susceptible to acquiring this disease! We can lose weight, improve our eating habits, reduce our body fat percentage, gain some muscle mass. We can do all this by being better informed and by making the effort—the effort to exercise, the effort to improve our diet, the effort to ask for help and information when we need it.

As ambitious as we are, we take our health for granted, always focusing on all other areas of our life and neglecting our health. Only when a health concern arises, then do we pay attention and attempt to change our lifestyle. And some of us don’t even do it then. A healthy life is a rewarding life. We must value our health, not just when we have health issues but at all times. We must care!

Researchers at Emory University are conducting a study to prevent diabetes among South Asians in Atlanta. The program, South Asian Health and Prevention Education (SHAPE), is a lifestyle-based program which promotes healthy eating and physical activity. During this pilot study, individuals may be placed in one of two groups, both of which provide health information on diabetes prevention. You may be eligible to participate if you are South Asian, at least 25 years old, have prediabetes or think you might have prediabetes.

For more information, please call the SHAPE team at 404-727-5403 or e-mail shape@emory.edu.

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