Asia Minute: Diabetes Takes Bigger Regional Toll Across Pacific

Apr 6, 2016

Credit Wikipedia Commons

Today is World Health Day—which marks the founding of the World Health Organization in 1948. This year, the WHO has issued a call to action on diabetes—a condition it says has exploded over the past several decades …and is taking an especially heavy toll in Asia.  HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

It’s a fair bet that most of us could exercise more…for a lot of reasons.  Here’s one: the World Health Organization says it’s one of the best ways to limit risk factors for diabetes, which is cutting a path of health complications across developed and developing countries.

The WHO says cases of diabetes among adults have nearly quadrupled since 1980.  Conditions are of particular concern for the organization’s Western Pacific region—which includes Japan, China, and the Philippines, among other countries.

It’s the region with the biggest number of cases of diabetes—131-million according to the latest estimates.  Next is South East Asia---which in the WHO’s view includes India, as well as Indonesia and has 96-million cases.  Europe and the Americas round out the top four locations for the condition.

Type two diabetes is the most common form for those who live with it….it can start in adulthood and it’s linked with obesity, physical inactivity, and poor diet.  Developing nations are more vulnerable to diabetes than they used to be….although the WHO notes that what it calls “excessively sedentary lifestyles” are more common in high-income countries than in lower ones.  The organization recommends at least two and a half hours of moderate physical activity each week.