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Diabetes and Public Policy.

Posted Jan 03 2011 12:00am
To say that genes are responsible for obesity is generally no more nor any less correct than to say that genes are responsible for drowning when it occurs. Homo sapiens are not genetically disposed to do well under water for extended periods; we are not well disposed to soaking in a sea of constant calories and labor saving technology, either.
Ultimately, all drowning is genetic in origin. You can’t drown a fish; fish are genetically immune to that particular fate. But to focus on genes rather than lifeguards, fences around pools, and swimming lessons when it comes to curtailing the harms of our own vulnerability in this regard would be sheer genomic folly.
David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP  
Director, Prevention Research Center, Yale University School Of Medicine.

So we all know that India is in grip of Obesity and Diabetes epidemic or Diabesity , as is the catchphrase of the day.Are People to blame?Or are they also susceptible to a pro-diabetes environment which has been identified by Public Policy Makers in more enlightened cities like New York. Here are the environmental changes in food and activity that make a population more susceptible to diabetes.
Changes in Food
  • More food consumed out of home
  • More bad fat laden, low nutrient foods available in supermarkets
  • More fast food outlets
  • More television food advertising, especially aimed at children
  • More use of high fructose corn syrup in processed foods
  • Bigger portion sizes.
  • Unhealthy food like colas/chips has become cheap and ubiquitous.
  • Changes in Physical Activity 
  • No Parks/walkways/ green zones.
  • Neighborhoods not conducive to walking or physical activity
    Fear of crime .
  • More TV, computer and elevator use
    Fitness centers and sports programs not available at Govt level.for all.
  • More people use cars to travel; fewer walk.
  • What can be done at Governmental level?
      Taxing high-calorie sweetened beverages and other low nutrient foods and use revenues to fund nutrition education. Protect children from food advertisements that promote unhealthy foods. Provide incentives for employers to establish workplace physical activity programs. Make physical activity more available, safer, and more attractive in Schools and neighbourhoods.  Have walking and cycling only zones in cities and towns.
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