November 11, 2004

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

NEWMARKET – November is Diabetes Awareness Month and Public Health Nutritionists from York Region Health Services remind residents that a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables and fruit, regular physical activity, and a healthy body weight will help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, more than 2 million Canadians have diabetes.  Here in York Region, an estimated 6% of the adult population had diabetes in 1999.  Since the population is aging and obesity rates are on the rise, it is expected that the number of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes will increase to 3 million by the end of the decade. 
Prevention is key.
A major clinical trial, the Diabetes Prevention Program, has shown that the risk for type 2 diabetes can be reduced by almost 60% through modest changes in diet and exercise and reduction in body weight.  In fact, a moderate weight loss of just 5% of body weight can significantly produce health benefits. 
Key prevention steps to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes:
• Eat well!  Enjoy a healthy diet based on Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating.
• Get moving!  Aim for at least 30-60 minutes of physical activity every day as outlined in Canada’s Physical Activity Guide.  Regular physical activity will help maintain a healthy body weight.
• Watch your waist size!  People who carry more weight around their waist are at greater risk for type 2 diabetes.  To reduce your risk, men should have a waist circumference of less than 102 cm (40 inches) and women should be less than 88 cm (35 inches). 
• Keep portions in check!   As serving sizes increased over the years, so have the rates of overweight and obesity.  Follow the serving sizes outlined in Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating to help manage portion sizes. 
• Watch your fat intake!  Choosing healthier fats is just as important as cutting back on the total amount of fat you eat.  Opt for the healthier fats found in olive oil, canola oil, nuts, and fatty fish and minimize your intake of fatty meats, full fat milk products, butter and packaged food products made with hydrogenated oils (trans fats). 
• Increase your fibre intake!  Research has shown that consumption of fibre-rich foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, and legumes help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.  On average men should consume 38 grams of fibre a day and women 25 grams.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the body’s production or use of insulin, resulting in high blood sugar levels.  If diabetes is left untreated or is not managed properly, it can result in a variety of long-term complications including heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, erectile dysfunction, and nerve damage leading to possible amputation. 
People at greatest risk for developing type 2 diabetes include those that are over the age of 40, those who are overweight (especially excess abdominal weight), women who had diabetes during pregnancy, people of Aboriginal, Hispanic, Asian, or South Asian descent, and those with a family history of the disease.
For reliable and current nutrition information, speak to a Registered Dietitian at York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or visit

Contact:  Kim Clark, York Region Health Services
   905-830-4444 Ext. 4101

References available upon request

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