With diabetes becoming an increasingly common condition all over the world, especially in India, more researches are being conducted to treat it effectively. The focus point nonetheless remains the same: diet and exercise. According to a recent study, a healthy lifestyle can lower your chance of developing type 2 diabetes by a whopping 75 per cent. Not just that, in fact, it can also reduce your risk of developing heart disease by 49 per cent.
The study, published in Diabetologia, examined 1.1 million people who had not got type 2 diabetes, and compared it with data from 10 studies on people who had been diagnosed with it. The subjects were from different parts of the world, like Europe, Asia, New Zealand, Australia, and the US.
The lifestyle factors that formed the parameters for the study included body weight, nutrition, smoking, sleep quality and duration and physical activity among others. It was found that people with the “healthiest” lifestyle had lower risk of developing diabetes.
“It’s clear from the results, say the authors, that there is clearly large room for improvement in lifestyle across all countries,” said An Pan, and Yanbo Zhang, authors of the study, from China.
Lifestyle changes cannot happen overnight, and it takes several weeks to change your sleep schedule, drinking patterns, or physical activity. “One of my patients was doing great in making long-term changes in his habits around food, for example,” Sherri Isaak, a lifestyle coach shared. However,“he got a different job and was travelling constantly, which meant eating at restaurants 5 days a week. He had to learn how to make healthy choices in an entirely different environment.”
A lot of external factors affect one’s ability to shift from their existing lifestyle patterns. “We have to look at a person’s personality, the way their life works, the emotional connection they’re having to food, and the real reasons behind their choices,” Isaak said.
When a person is making changes in their diet, for instance, it’s important to look at food history and other details, like work life and place of living. Thus, all the factors influence each other when it comes to effects in their entirety. People often need a solid reason for making efforts to change their way of living. “You have to help them find their inspiration,” Isaak said. “Why do they want to make these changes in their life?”
There’s a caveat, however. The study primarily focused on high income countries, with white participants. Also, the subjects were middle-aged or elderly, so there’s no substantial material on children and young adults.
Another factor to consider is place of living. Rice is a staple for many people in South Asian countries, and that means their diet is rich in carbs. Obesity is affecting about 50 per cent of the population, almost like the US.
All in all, lifestyle changes make a huge impact when it comes to warding off diabetes. But considering other factors that are at play, it becomes difficult to make substantial changes in lifestyle.