07 May 2004

Bad News After Bad News Ought To Wake Us Up!

Image courtesy of NIH

Just when you thought it was only the incidence of childhood obesity that is rising, comes this jolting but expected news that the blood pressure levels of children and adolescents have been steadily rising since 1988 to the year 2000. This is documented in the May 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Another bad news is that caffeine may increase blood pressure and, therefore, the risk of hypertension, in adolescents, particularly among blacks. This comes from the May issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Read the full study here (no subscription needed).

The third bad news is the Wednesday announcement of the World Health Organization (WHO) that the number of diabetics worldwide would more than double to 366 million by 2030, from some 171 million at present. Read their full announcement here. In the year 2000, the latest year for which figures were available, some 3.2 million people died of ailments brought on by diabetes such as cardiovascular disease and kidney failure, as compared with three million deaths from AIDS.

Diabetes therefore, is a much bigger killer than AIDS.

And contrary to what you probably believe that diabetes is an ailment of the wealthy and can be found only in rich, 1st-world countries like the US and Europe, it is in poorer countries that diabetes is growing fastest, with cases seen rising 150% over the next 25 years. Also notable is the finding that while in rich nations diabetes affects mainly older people, in poorer countries incidence is surging among those still economically active.

So, cut on those calories while you can. Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! Avoid refined sugar in any form: ice cream and cakes. Encourage your children to develop a healthy lifestyle, too. Obese children are not cute; you are pushing them closer to their graves by making them eat the wrong foods. Instead of drinking softdrinks, drink water. Walk briskly. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Run and jog at least twice weekly. Don't just spend most of your time sitting in your office and facing your computer. Improve your diet and increase your physical activity. Reduce that waistline now! It's the only way to live longer and beat diabetes.

It is a fact that unlike some other health threats, type 2 diabetes could be prevented by improved eating and exercise habits. The key word is preventable.

What is your choice? Life or an early death? The answer may be obvious, but the rising diabetes incidence rates seem to contradict what most people really choose.

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