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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs