Diabetes Prevention News: Diabetes forum on Rota draws crowd

/ June 1st, 2011/ Posted in Diabetes / No Comments »

Diabetes forum on Rota draws crowd

A total of 110 residents of Sinapalo and Songsong Villages on Rota took part in the third CNMI-Wide Diabetes Health Community Forum: Highway to Better Health held at the Mayor’s Office on May 19.

Organized by the Commonwealth Diabetes Coalition in collaboration with the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program of the Department of Public Health and the Ayuda Network, the event was part of a six-part series of community-wide forums that aims to educate the public about diabetes health and prevention.

The goal of the community-wide forums is to involve the “taro roots” to address the need for systems changes, and combat the prevalence of diabetes, non-communicable diseases, obesity, cancer, and poor health lifestyle choices in high-risk populations through targeted social and behavioral strategies.

“The participants were very active in the group discussions and activities,” said Vinycia Seman, Coalition Education and Outreach Committee chair.

Seman said the Rota presenters were Dr. David Hardt, Dr. Jang Ho Kim, Jonathan Kiyoshi of the Northern Marianas College CREES Food Science Program, and Rosa Palacios of the Hinemlo Familia Network.

According to Seman, they gave away incentives to participants such as backpacks, T-shirts, pens, and safety kits as well as healthy lunches.

Seman added that they raffled off prizes, including $20 gas certificates, T-shirts, flash drives, Coral Ocean Point golf passes, PIC Water Park passes, and gift certificates from Herman’s Modern Bakery and Serenity Salon.

“We hope that the people of Rota can instill what they have learned from this community forum and live a better and healthier life. Diabetes can be prevented if we live healthier lifestyles by eating healthier foods and staying active,” she told Saipan Tribune.

Seman said the coalition thanks all the exhibitors, sponsors and supporters, including Ike Mendiola of the local Channel 5 for airing the interview about the event, who all made the forum a successful event.

Diabetes research shows promise

In the past two weeks, we have been considering some of the challenges that people with type 1 or 2 diabetes face on a daily basis. I was, therefore, most interested to attend a lecture on “Nutrition in the Prevention and Treatment of Diabetes: Science and Mythology”, arranged by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) a few weeks ago. The lecture was presented by Jim Mann, Professor in Human Nutrition and Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, in New Zealand. Prof Mann, is one of the world’s leading experts in nutrition and its effects on diseases of lifestyle, including diabetes. Prof Mann was visiting South Africa as a guest of North-West University, who have bestowed an Honorary Doctorate on him for his contributions to nutrition.

Historical background

In his introduction, Prof Mann briefly outlined the history of diabetes and its treatment. This disease was known as far back as 400 BC and is mentioned in ancient Chinese texts. In 1889, a Dr Schmée diagnosed type 1 diabetes for the first time and prescribed a low carbohydrate diet for his patients, an approach that persisted for the next 100 years. From what my readers report to me, many doctors and healthcare professionals still only say, “Cut out all sugars and carbohydrates” when they counsel their diabetic patients.

In the 1970’s, a researcher called Hugh Trowell, for the first time suggested that diabetics could eat carbohydrates provided they were rich in dietary fibre. Dr Trowell based his recommendations on the observation that populations eating traditional diets which were rich in plant fibre and relatively high in carbohydrate, had a low incidence of diabetes compared to populations eating western diets containing an excess of highly processed low-fibre foods.

Subsequently a number of scientific studies have produced results showing that diabetics can use carbohydrates in their diet, provided such carbohydrates have a high dietary fibre content and are of the correct type (see below).

Finnish Study

Prof Mann also described the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study (DPS), which was conducted with 522 middle-aged, overweight subjects with impaired glucose tolerance. The study achieved significant results that can be applied in everyday life (Lindström et al, 2003) . The goals of the DPS were as follows:
to decrease the body weight of the participants by 5% or more
to get participants to do moderate physical activity of 30 or more minutes a day
to reduce the subjects’ intakes of dietary fat and saturated fat significantly
to increase their dietary fibre intake to 15 g or more per 1000 kcal (a man consuming 2000 kcal per day, would thus be expected to eat 30 g of fibre a day)

The subjects in the DPS were divided into two groups – an experimental group that received intensive lifestyle interventions (individual dietary counselling from a dietician, circuit-training and exercise advice) and a control group who received standard medical care (Lindström et al, 2003).

Prof Mann emphasised the success of this Finnish study, where those subjects who had achieved at least 3 of the above mentioned goals, did not develop type 2 diabetes even 15 years after the initial intervention. The two most important interventions were identified as weight loss and increasing dietary fibre intake.

Perhaps the most encouraging result of the DPS was the finding that type 2 diabetes is the most preventable of all the lifestyle diseases!

What type of carbs should diabetics eat?

According to Prof Mann, it is important for diabetics to eat the right kind of carbohydrate, such as legumes (cooked or canned dry beans, peas, lentils, soya) and pulses, chickpeas, low-GI (glycaemic index) bread, and low-GI vegetables.

In other words, the old idea that all so-called “complex” carbohydrates benefit diabetics by keeping their blood sugar and insulin levels low and steady, such as high-fibre carbohydrates (wholewheat bread, high-bran breakfast cereals, etc), is no longer valid. Prof Mann pointed out that the idea that complex carbs are “good” and simple carbs are “bad”, has been disproved with the introduction of the glycaemic index (GI). So if you are diabetic, it is important to select carbohydrates with a low-GI-value, such as the ones listed above.

Australian study

Other aspects of the dietary treatment of patients with diabetes or insulin resistance, are also being investigated. It has been suggested that the type of fat used in the diet (saturated, polyunsaturated or monounsaturated), can also have an important effect on insulin reactions.

Researchers working in Australia, have investigated the effect of substituting carbohydrates with either monounsaturated fat or protein (Luscombe-Marsh et al, 2005). In this study, 57 overweight or obese subjects with insulin resistance were either given a low-fat, high-protein diet or a high-fat (mainly monounsaturated fat), low-protein diet for 12 weeks, to study the effects of the 2 diets on weight loss, blood fats, appetite regulation and energy output after each test meal.

The results showed that there was no significant difference between the amounts of weight the two groups lost – the low-fat, high-protein subjects lost 9.7 kg, while the high-monounsaturated fat, low-protein subjects managed to lose an average of 10.2 kg in the 12-week study period. However, the low-fat, high-protein diet did suppress appetite to a greater extent than the high-fat, low-protein diet.

The researchers concluded that the weight loss and improvements in insulin resistance and other risk factors (e.g. risk of heart disease due to increased blood fat levels), were similar on both diet treatments and that neither diet affected bone turnover or kidney function negatively (Luscombe-Marsh et al, 2005).

It may thus be a good idea for diabetics to use monounsaturated fats in their diets to replace other sources of fat. Avocados, nuts and olives; olive, canola, grapeseed, peanut, sesame, safflower and avocado oils, as well as foods made with these oils, are rich sources of monounsaturated fats.

Different population GI responses to foods
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Prof Mann also cautioned that different populations may exhibit different blood sugar and insulin reactions to foods. A study which compared the glycaemic response of people of European and Chinese ethnicity, found that on average the GI of parboiled rice in the Chinese subjects was 20% higher than in the Caucasian group: an average GI of 72 was obtained with the Chinese subjects, compared to an average GI-value of 57 with the European subjects, which would make parboiled rice a high-GI food for the Chinese subjects, while it can still be regarded as a low-GI food for the subjects of European descent.

This indicates that it is important to determine the GI of foods in different populations, particularly staple foods that are used as the basis of a specific population’s diet (rice in China and other Eastern countries, maize meal in large parts of Africa, including South Africa).

It is good to know that scientific researchers are hard at work trying to improve the lives of patients with insulin resistance, and types 1 and 2 diabetes. The most encouraging news is that type 2 diabetes can to a large extent be prevented by losing weight, increasing the intake of dietary fibre from legumes, pulses and low-GI foods, and doing some physical exercise as often as possible.

Camp held for youth at risk of diabetes

Qatar Diabetes Association has organised an “At Risk Camp” for students and overweight teenagers with first degree family history of diabetes.
Some 20 overweight teenagers took part in the event.
QDA is at the forefront of efforts in Qatar and the Middle East to promote the prevention, care and management of diabetes.
The association’s effort in prevention field has increased in recent years due to the dramatic increase in the incidence of obesity and diabetes in Qatar, the region and worldwide.
QDA executive director Dr Abdullah al-Hamaq said: “Our aim is to influence young people and youth to take small steps so they can get big rewards. These steps include ‘eating healthy’ by focusing on eating less and making healthy food choices like eating more vegetables and fruits, cutting down on fatty and fried foods.”
Other steps such as “move more” by walking, swimming or playing ball also matter, he said.
“We want to help them achieve their full potential, set goals they can meet and have the power to cut their chances of getting diabetes as well as to spread awareness about diabetes prevention among their families,” Dr al-Hamaq said.
QDA senior dietitian Katie Nahas said: “The camping programmes consisted providing the participants with a healthy diet with reduced calorie accompanied with an active exercise schedule aimed at initiating weight loss.”
In addition, Nahas mentioned that counselling sessions were also included to assist the adolescents in their difficulties to initiate and maintain behavioural changes.
She added that QDA will maintain a monthly follow up with few of the participants who were at risk group.
Camp manager Mohamed Saadi mentioned that the camp was run by a team of professionals made up of various committees that include medical, nutrition, activities and programmes, public relations and safety personnel.

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