Reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes

Diabetes currently affects more than two million Canadians and that number is forecasted to increase by the end of the decade.

Diabetes currently affects more than two million Canadians and that number is forecasted to increase to well over three million by the end of the decade.  Those being diagnosed with diabetes are younger now than ever.

The age group we are seeing the largest increase in is those between 35 to 45 years of age and over half of new cases are aged 45 to 64.

There is not just one cause of type 2 diabetes; it is based on multiple risk factors.

Family history or genetics plays a large role but just as important are physical inactivity, poor nutrition, obesity and aging.

Adults who are obese are up to four times more likely to develop diabetes and rates have tripled over the past 30 years.

Almost half of Canadians are not active enough and reported not eating more than five fruits and vegetables per day.

Smoking is a dangerous mix when someone has diabetes.

The good news is that smoking rates across Canada have been declining over the past decade.

B.C. is making great strides in decreasing the rates but unfortunately, in the Okanagan we remain above the provincial average.

So what can we do?

Let’s start by increasing our physical activity. Even a few minutes per day will make a difference.

Adults should be striving towards 30 minutes of moderate activity per day such as swimming, brisk walking or biking.

Set a good example for your kids, increase your activity and decrease your screen and sitting time.

Children and youth should be aiming for at least 60 to 90 minutes of moderate and vigorous activity per day.

Examples of moderate activities include brisk walking, skating, bike riding and vigorous activities include running and playing soccer.

Fill up half your plate with vegetables and grab some fruit as a snack instead of processed foods.

If you are a smoker, check out QuitNow resources and the B.C. government smoking cessation program.

Upcoming sessions at the Summerland Diabetes and Nutrition Clinic include:  Diabetes and your Eyes by Dr. Grant Goods (March 31), Foot Care (May 12), Diabetes Basics (June 2) and Goal setting (June 16.)

To learn more about these sessions or book an individual appointment with the nurse or dietitian call 250-770-3530

Carol Stathers is a nurse educator with Interior Health Summerland Diabetes and Nutrition program.