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
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid