In Australia, nearly 850,000 people have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. What is astonishing is that another 850,000 people are thought to have type 2 diabetes but they don't know it! It is a story that is repeated across the Western world: the diabetes epidemic.
While the incidence of chronic disease is rising with our aging population, there's a reason why diabetes deserves special attention. Preventing and managing diabetes is important because diabetes affects every major system within your body if left unchecked or untreated. As you can see in the infographic below, this includes your heart health, your brain and nervous system, your digestive system, your eyes...even your skin!
At Inspire, we have Accredited Exercise Physiologists who specialise in helping people prevent, treat, and manage diabetes by establishing healthy lifestyle habits, as a core part of a holistic health care plan. To learn more about our services and make a booking with an Exercise Physiologist, call us on (03) 9857 3007.
The prevalence of chronic disease in children and young adults doubled from the 1960s to the 1980s, and has continued to increase rapidly in recent decades. But why?
“Chronic diseases generally don’t develop in a day, a week or a month they are developed over many years.” – Maurice Swanson (The Heart Foundation chief executive)
The scientific research certainly supports Maurice Swanson’s statement, with growing evidence of a link between childhood obesity and chronic disease during the adult years. After testing obese and overweight children of pre-primary (some as young as 2 years old) and primary school age, researchers have discovered some startling facts about the health status of these children, including: elevated blood pressure, poor levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol), high levels of LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol), and constant high levels of circulating insulin. These risk factors are some of the major contributors to the metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular diseases. Other complications associated with childhood obesity include sleep apnea, hormonal disruption, and growth plate damage.
“We know that the disease process is one related to exposure”
It appears that increased body fat during childhood initiates a “risk factor domino”, which is carries over from childhood to adulthood, and may even become worse as the child ages. This is even more worrying due to the fact that the longer an individual is exposed to health risks, the greater their likelihood of suffering from chronic disease. The unfortunate reality is that childhood obesity has almost reached epidemic status in industrialised countries, and continues to place increasing strain and economic burden on health care systems.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Although childhood obesity is undoubtedly a complex issue, preventing and controlling childhood obesity is achievable through family-centred, action-oriented intervention strategies which primarily focus on establishing and maintaining healthy lifestyle behaviours.
Incorporating structured exercise is an excellent way to control or prevent the onset of childhood obesity and the associated chronic disease risk factors. Physically active children and adolescents have lower blood pressure levels, better cholesterol profiles, higher bone density, and decreased fat compared to their sedentary counterparts. Structured exercise for children should be age-appropriate, therefore guidance from an Exercise Physiologist is invaluable, to ensure that children can learn about safe and effective physical activity to support their health, now and into adulthood.
Written by Jack Hoffman, Accredited Exercise Physiologist.
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