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

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid