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736. Rising Cases of Diabetes and Obesity Worldwide

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736. Rising Cases of Diabetes and Obesity Worldwide

In the news section of Nature, a study shows that type 2 diabetes and obesity are on the rise worldwide, especially among the poorest segments of society. Type 2 diabetes is a disease that causes higher than normal levels of glucose (blood sugar) in the blood, and although there are few symptoms in the early stages of the disease, if left untreated, it can gradually damage blood vessels and nerves throughout the body, causing various complications. Type 2 diabetes is thought to be caused by genetic inheritance, a high-calorie diet, a high-fat diet, and lack of exercise, all of which are closely linked to modern dietary habits.

The original paper, published in Cell Metabolism on March 7, showed that during the period 2000-2019, the rates of diabetes as well as high blood pressure and obesity-related liver disease have increased. All three conditions are related to metabolic problems in converting food into energy. During this period, diabetes cases in particular rose at an annual rate of 1.5%, and obesity and high cholestrol in the blood were estimated to be responsible for 5 million and 4.3 million deaths in 2019, respectively. It was also noted that one person often has multiple problems.
The study further noted that while healthy life years lost due to obesity are decreasing in high-income countries, they are increasing rapidly in low- and middle-income countries, and there is no doubt that disparities in health care, healthy eating, and moderate exercise are exacerbating the metabolic-related burden. In many parts of the world, this means that healthy eating is still expensive.

As mentioned in a recent Pick Up, it is estimated that 3.1 billion people will not be able to afford a healthy diet in 2020, particularly in developing regions, and that in 12 countries (all in Africa), more than 90% of people will not have access to a healthy diet at any given time, and the same will be true for more than half the population in 53 countries where data exist.

The syndemic situation, in which obesity and undernourishment coexist, is closely related to inequality and poverty, suggesting the need to fundamentally review the state of the modern food system.

Nicholas W.S. Chew, et al, The global burden of metabolic disease: Data from 2000 to 2019,Cell Metabolism,Volume 35, Issue 3, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2023.02.003.

Pick Up 731. Food Systems and Syndemic https://www.jircas.go.jp/en/program/proc/blog/20230307 

Pick Up 732. Global Indicators on the Costs of Healthy Diets https://www.jircas.go.jp/en/program/proc/blog/20230308

Contributor: IIYAMA Miyuki (Information Program)