Opinion and Editorial

KT edit: Eat right, exercise to stave off diabetes

Filed on November 13, 2019 | Last updated on November 13, 2019 at 07.52 pm

A sedentary lifestyle, combined with stress, poor eating habits and lack of physical exercise are major contributing factors.

If anything, World Diabetes Day affords us an opportunity to sit back and re-evaluate our lifestyles. But before we do that, we must look for the devil in the details. A World Health Organisation report claims that the number of people suffering from diabetes (Type 1 and 2) rose from 108 million in 1982 to 422 million in 2014. Closer home, the UAE finds itself among the 10 countries with the highest prevalence of diabetes.

Obesity cases have been on the rise, prompting several initiatives from the health authorities. So, where do we stand in this battle against the disease? Dubai Health Authority has announced several initiatives to tackle the problem. We are also nearing the end of a month-long fitness challenge, initiated by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai. While it is heartening to have a structured system where physical well-being is the focus, many of us may have to answer for our lifestyle choices that enable diabetes.

A sedentary lifestyle, combined with stress, poor eating habits and lack of physical exercise are major contributing factors. If you are plain unlucky, chances are genetics will play a role. However, the statistic that is staring right in our faces is sugar consumption. Whether it be in the form of complex carbohydrates (that are absorbed as sugars) or direct intake, WHO claims that nearly 10 per cent of our daily calorie intake is sugar.

Today, one only has to look around to realise that there is an entire industry around sugar that is thriving while having you believe that it is an antidote to all the highs and lows of life - be it a celebration or a bad day, a broken heart or even the one that's mended. Walk into a mall and you might find a beautifully presented dessert that you or your kid believes is waiting to be eaten. (As a popular joke among the food blogging circle in Dubai goes, desserts have a language of their own.) World Diabetes Day would only matter if we were to take charge of our consumption habits, instead of making them an afterthought. With modern lifestyle posing its own set of challenges, mindful eating and physical exercise are no longer indulgences, but the need of the hour to preserve us from ourselves.


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