News / Africa

Study Aims to Stem Type-2 Diabetes

Jonas Lukano, 60, who is has diabetes, is watched over by his sister at the state general hospital in Congo's capital of Kinshasa. (file photo)
Jonas Lukano, 60, who is has diabetes, is watched over by his sister at the state general hospital in Congo's capital of Kinshasa. (file photo)

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
More than 370-million people around the world are being treated for diabetes. That number is expected to grow as more countries adopt Western-style diets laden with fat, salt and sugar. The European Commission is now funding a study to see whether type-2 diabetes can be prevented through diet, exercise and lifestyle changes.


The $12 million study – known as PREVIEW -- is called the largest of its kind. Besides European Union countries, it will include New Zealand, Australia and Canada. About 2,500 people will take part.

“There are several types of diabetes. There’s the one that you get which is mainly genetic, inherited. It’s type-1 diabetes. Another type that you get [is] if you have a lifestyle that gives you diabetes, type-2 diabetes, which is normally related to overweight and obesity. In the old times, it was the elderly who got it, but nowadays it’s also children and adolescents, who can get type-2 diabetes,” said Professor Anne Raben of the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports. She is the project’s chief coordinator.

There’s also a type called gestational diabetes, which women may get when pregnant. However, this generally disappears after giving birth.”

“Diabetes means you can’t control your blood glucose, your blood sugar yourself. You need help, for instance, drugs,” she said.

Under normal conditions, the pancreas produces the hormone insulin, which keeps glucose levels under control. When that fails to happen, it’s called insulin resistance or hyperglycemia.

Type-2 diabetes may lack symptoms at first. Later, it may lead to frequent infections that are slow to heal, increased urination, thirst and hunger, as well as nerve pain or numbness in the extremities. It can result in blindness, amputations and death. Medication or insulin therapy may be needed.

More people are also being diagnosed as having a condition called metabolic syndrome. It’s a combination of risk factors, such as obesity, high glucose levels, high blood pressure and smoking.

Raben said, “It’s a stage which normally or often could develop into diabetes or real cardiovascular diseases. So, it’s kind of a situation where your body’s out of control, but you’re not yet very ill or you don’t maybe need drugs yet to help.”

Professor Raben explained the need for such a large study, saying, “Diabetes is exploding. Type-2 diabetes is exploding and it’s related to [being] overweight. And you could call it a diabesity epidemic – diabetes and obesity epidemic, which is worldwide. So we need to do something.”

She said developing countries may face a double problem. On the one hand, some people may not be eating enough food – and on the other, some may be eating too much food containing high levels of salt, fat and sugar. That can lead diabesity.

The PREVIEW study will weigh the effects of two different diets. The first is widely recommended in EU nations and calls for moderate protein and carbohydrate intake and lots of fiber.

The other is based on a previous six month study of generally healthy people called Diogenes. It recommends a different mix of proteins and carbs.

She said, “They found out that a high protein, low glycemic index diet – that is a diet with slowly absorbable carbohydrates and high protein content – was very good at preventing weight gain after weight loss. It’s fairly easy to lose weight. Most people can lose weight if they’re focused following some diet with lower calories, but after the diet most people gain weight again. So it’s very hard to keep a weight loss for most people.”

However, the Diogenes study showed that a high protein, low glycemic index diet helps people to keep the weight off. Exercise regimens will also be included in the PREVIEW study.

What’s more, researchers will consider the effects of sleep and stress on weight. Some studies have shown that those who get too few hours of sleep are more prone to weight gain. There’s also some evidence that too much stress can trigger hormones that can help to pack on the pounds.

The three year clinical research project will be accompanied by a review of demographic data of more than 170,000 people in Europe, Canada and New Zealand.

You May Like

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid