Reached Form Four? Your risk of getting diabetes is higher - Beaking Kenya News

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Monday, 28 December 2020

Reached Form Four? Your risk of getting diabetes is higher


The more educated you are, the higher your risk of diabetes, regardless of whether you are overweight or obese.

A new analysis shows a 14 per cent increase in the risk of diabetes for Kenyans with secondary school education or higher compared with those with no formal education.

Researchers say this specific risk has nothing to do with being overweight or obese, the two main major drivers of the growing diabetes epidemic.

They said even after taking away the two factors during the analysis, the association between education levels and diabetes remained statistically significant.

“In contrast to the association seen in high-income countries, diabetes risk was highest among those with greater educational attainment, independent of BMI,” the researchers said in the study published recently in the Diabetes Care journal, owned by the American  Association of Diabetes.

The study is a meta-analysis of the World Health Organisation STEP wise approach to Surveillance (STEPS) survey from 29 countries including Kenya, from 2008 to 2016.

The STEPS survey collects and disseminates data about noncommunicable disease risk factors in adults living in WHO member countries.

The researchers explained that more educated people may have poor diet quality and physical inactivity, which are also independent risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

The relationship may also be explained by the recently proposed obesity transition theory, where unhealthy lifestyle behaviours are first adopted by more affluent groups.

“As public knowledge of disease prevention and access to preventive services increase, social norms change, and the rise of obesity and diabetes in affluent groups is attenuated and the burden shifts to vulnerable segments of the population,” the study says.

The authors also explained the results using the fifth stages of the nutritional transition theory.

The stages progress from hunter-gatherer level to industrialized societies with low levels of physical activity and high consumption of energy-dense foods, resulting in the rise of obesity and diabetes (stage 4).

The fifth stage occurs in countries with higher economic growth such as the US, where well-off people adopt an individual behavioural change to reduce sedentary behaviour and adopt healthier eating habits.

“Lower middle-income countries included in this analysis may be at an advanced stage in the nutrition transition but with no reversal in the socioeconomic gradient of diabetes risk,” they said.

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