Health and Youth
The prevalence of diabetes is significantly increased among the youth around the world. For instance, D'Adamo and Caprio discuss a study presented to the American Diabetes Association’s annual meeting reveals there has been a 23% rise of youths suffering from type-1 diabetes and 21% rise of type-2 diabetes among the youth from the year 2001 to 2009. These two trends are sounding alarm bells. Many cases of diabetes mainly involve youths aged around 20 years. Concurrent with the worldwide epidemic increase in both type-1 diabetes and type-2 diabetes are various factors such as sedimentary lifestyle, existence of poor eating habits, and genetic implications during pregnancy leading to children to be born with the diabetes. The situation has been worsened by the lack of awareness among the youth on matters diabetic. They lack general information concerning issues such as blood pressure, sugar levels, healthy diet, physical exercise, and normal body weight. According to Baker, Simpson, Lloyd, Bauman, and Bauman, it is estimated that by 2035 the number of individual’s suffering from diabetes will rise to 592 million with a large percentage of this figure being the youth. It is imperative to note that this number can be reduced through a number of wellness initiatives involving nutrition and consumption of a healthy diet, social engagement, and development of a healthier and balanced lifestyle among the youth. Developing and implementing these strategies will be essential in reducing cases of diabetes among the youth and thus help to preserve the world’s population of young people. This paper explicates the prevalence of diabetes among the youth aiming to capture the nature, causes, and preventive strategies of this metabolic disease affecting the sugar level of the body.
Diabetes among the Youth in the World (How it is)
The prevalence of diabetes is rising fast among youths around the world. New cases of diabetes among the youth are being recorded daily. For instance, Sadarangani, Hamer, Mindell, Coombs, and Stamatakis observe that between 2008 and 2009 3,287 new cases of diabetes among Canadians aged 19 years were being reported. According to Merlott, Morabito, and Pontiroli, type-2 diabetes has drastically increased among the youth with a high number of new cases South Asians being diagnosed. This rate is considered to be twice the Caucasian rate and triple the Chinese rate of diagnosis. The situation as it stands right now is the majority of the youth suffering from diabetes have developed the type 2 type. This is very alarming since it confirms that a large population of young people in the world is obese and physically inactive.
Initially, diabetes was mostly associated with the older generation. The high rise of diabetes among the youth is therefore a cause of concern as it is threatening the future of many nations of the world. The question to ask in this instance is who will remain to oversee the development of nations tomorrow. It is therefore not surprising to see how many countries have embarked on carrying out research on diabetes, its effect and how it can be controlled or overcome altogether.
There is significant lack of information among the youth on diabetes. Many youths remain ignorant about the condition. Relevant information of diabetes related factors such as blood sugar levels and body weight remains unknown to the youth and to their parents. As a consequence, they have become vulnerable to developing this condition. Tuomilehto, Schwarz, and Lindstrom opine that if this situation is not remedied, there is going to be an epidemic of heart diseases, stroke, and kidney failure in the generation age 25-35. Thus the future of the world is going to be marred with uncertainty.
Cause of Diabetes among the Youth (Why)
The youth today are suffering from both type-1 and type-2 diabetes. Since this is threatening the future of the nations of the world due to the potential of a large chunk of their population being wiped out by age 40, it is imperative to understand why this is taking place. This can be achieved by identifying the causes of this condition among a promising generation of young people. It is critical to remember that the causes of diabetes among the youth vary and may depend on a number of factors such as genetic makeup, family history, and environmental factors.
In the first instance, Baker, Simpson, Lloyd, Bauman, and Bauman affirm that type 1 diabetes is caused by the consumption of pollutants and taking of unnecessary medication. These two acts lead to an infant’s pancreas to be destroyed while still in the womb. The end result is development of diabetes. As a result of destruction of the pancreas the insulin making cells also become destroyed. This tends to leave a child to become vulnerable to developing diabetes as they grow into youths. This observation being made about infants depicts the lack of information about diabetes among the women of the world. Many of them do not have any idea about what diets to take during their pregnancy and how they are exposing their children to diabetes. It can therefore be concluded that the exposure of the youth to type-1 diabetes through their mothers is an indicator of inefficient social engagement that has limited relevant information on efficient management of pregnancy from reaching many women.
Significantly, the case of type-2 diabetes remains high among the youth. Cali and Caprio attribute this to obesity. It is estimated that four out of five people with type-2 diabetes are obese signifying the contribution of weight to the development of this type of diabetes. The excess weight as a result of being obese results into development of type-2 diabetes since the stored fat causes mild, low grade inflammation throughout the body. In addition, the excess fat particularly abdominal fat tends to change how the body responds to insulin. This leads to a condition known as insulin resistance which prevents body cells from using insulin to process sugar out of blood. This results into high sugar levels.
Thirdly, D'Adamo and Caprio suggest another relevant cause of type-2 diabetes among the youth is development of poor eating habits. Today’s youth are consuming unhealthy foods and diets. This is evidenced by the large number of fast food restaurants mushrooming in many parts of the world. The fact that most of these young people no longer live with their parents as they pursue their education away from home or have just joined the labor market has worsened the situation. In their environment they pick up these poor eating habits since they lack the time to prepare good food for themselves. These poor eating habits increase the risk factor for type-2 diabetes as it promotes obesity which as mentioned above causes insulin resistance.
Another cause of diabetes is from a factor that appears harmless to many. This factor is watching television and in the case of the youth of today spending a lot of time on the internet. This cause may sound strange to many and the question to ask is how can merely spending a few hours in front of the screen cause a condition like diabetes? In the views of Sadarangani, Hamer, Mindell, Coombs, and Stamatakis, an analysis of health and nutrition data from a sample of individuals between the age of 20-54 showed that individuals who spend more than two hours in front of a television screen a day tend to be obese and develop diabetes compared to their peers who do not do so. This can be attributed to the tendency to snack while watching television. Cali and Caprio affirm that the frequent viewers of television tend to consume 137 more calories a day than those who spend less time watching television.
Further, another significant cause of diabetes among the youth according to Tuomilehto, Schwarz, and Lindstrom is physical inactivity. Times have changed and today’s youth has developed a sedimentary lifestyle. They have become couch potatoes spending a lot of their time in doors. The age of technological advancement has further worsened the situation. In the past it was common for the young people to converge outside for a good game of basketball or soccer. Children would play marbles, hopscotch, and hide and seek until late into the evening. But technological advancement has brought new ways of keeping busy among this young generation. The youth today are kept busy by play station games, smart phones and tablets, computers and the internet, and social media platforms. As a consequence, they have become physically inactive. This sedimentary lifestyle which is characterized with little or no exercise continues to worry many medics around the world as it worsens the prevalence of diabetes among the youth. The lack of parental intervention to this kind of lifestyle has also worsened the situation. Many parents spend most of their time working and therefore have no time to oversee their children’s lives. They have turned tablets and smart phones into baby sitters for their children. They have therefore promoted the sedimentary lifestyle that their children currently lead further making them susceptible to contracting diabetes.
Sleep too is a contributing factor to the development of diabetes among the youth as observed by Cali and Caprio. In particular poor sleeping habits are of interest in the youth’s vulnerability to diabetes. There is a lot of pressure for the youths to succeed. In addition many youths around the world have developed a large interest in technology. Firstly the pressure to succeed which comes from parents and society has led to development of stress among many young people. This has to a large extent affected their sleeping habits. That is many youths tend to sleep for a short periods of time due to the stress developed from the pressure placed on them to succeed. Secondly, the high interest in new technology has led to many young people around the world to acquire fancy gadgets that they spend a large amount of time on. This time includes that which should be spent sleeping. These sleeping disturbances tend to affect the body’s balance of insulin and blood sugar level. In particular, it tends to increase the demand on the pancreas and over time, this leads to development of type-2 diabetes. According to…individuals who sleep fewer than five hours a night are at a higher risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
Genes too can cause diabetes to a certain extent. Genetic susceptibility to diabetes can occur although it is argued that this is not always the case despite having a number of family members suffering from the condition. In the opinions of D'Adamo and Caprio, a first degree relative like a sibling or a child of someone suffering from type-1 diabetes has a 6 in 100 chance of developing this type of diabetes. Genes are usually passed down from parent to child. As a consequence a parent may pass down a gene that can cause development of diabetes in a child. For instance the HLA genes are known to be high risk genes for type-1 diabetes. Thus by the time a person enters into their youth they will do so with a diabetic condition. It is therefore significant for parents to live a healthy lifestyle to prevent developing of such genes that will harm the health of their children through genetic inheritance. The caution is even more serious for pregnant women who are encouraged to adapt a healthy lifestyle during this period as even new born babies are susceptible to diabetes.
The most worrying cause of diabetes among the youth is lack of information in health awareness particularly with regards to diabetes. Cali and Caprio assert that a large population of the youth lack information on matters of lifestyle, healthy eating habits, high sugar levels and other factors related to diabetes. As a consequence, they lack ways of escaping the clutches of this condition. This status of the youth is a clear illustration of the extent of lack of social engagement particularly with regards to communication and subsequent diabetes prevention strategies. For instance, there is nothing motivating these young people from participating in any diabetes awareness programs or attending health screening offered by various health institutions in their countries. This kind of thinking and behavior has contributed to the current prevalence of diabetes among the youth. As they continue to stay in the dark with regards to this condition, the disease continues to increase the number of its victims.
Prevention is the only hope that remains for the youth of the world. This is the reason why many nations have invested in the development of state of the art diabetes prevention strategies as they struggle to save their future. They have also set in place diabetes research institutes that are committed to finding the most effective ways of combating this condition. For instance, Egypt in 2014 signed a deal with a Danish company to develop diabetes management in the country which currently ranks ninth in the world for prevalence of diabetes. Tuomilehto, Schwarz, and Lindstrom note that the fact that the rate of diabetes has soured by 83% in 15 years has made the country to worry. In a country such as the United Arabs Emirates the existence of state of the art diagnostic and treatment facilities has raised the nation’s hopes of being able to prevent further prevalence of the condition among the youths of this nation. One relevant example is the construction of the Al Zahra Private Hospital in Dubai. Remarkably, a number of preventive strategies can be adapted to fight against this condition threatening the world’s youth population and thus promote good health around the world.
One significant strategy that can be used to prevent diabetes among the youth is to promotion of social engagement. Baker, Simpson, Lloyd, Bauman, and Bauman insist that it is imperative that this social engagement be adherence to both the physical and mental aspect. One key cause of diabetes among the youth was sedimentary lifestyle that led to obesity which increased the chances of developing diabetes. This can be prevented by countries introducing fitness centers that will provide the young people with opportunities to exercise and thus control their body weight. This will be essential in preventing accumulation of body fat and hence reducing the occurrence of insulin resistance in the body. It is imperative for governments to try to make these fitness centers as interesting to the youth as possible. This will be the only way that they will be torn away from television screens, internet, and video games. It is equally imperative to boost the mental aspect of the youths with regards to understanding diabetes risk factors and why it is important to prevent it. The mental aspect can be enhanced through sharing of information during awareness activities and events aimed at educating the youth on the necessity of getting regular screening for diabetes. This will also provide an opportunity to educate the youth to avoid diabetes risk factors in their lives. It is the mentality of the youth towards comprehending the nature of diabetes and risk factors that will ensure improved management of the disease in the future. Thus change in the mental state of the youth will be essential in enforcing this preventive strategy.
Another vital strategy that can be used to prevent diabetes among the youth is adaptation of a healthy lifestyle. According to Sadarangani, Hamer, Mindell, Coombs, and Stamatakis, the type of lifestyle led by the youths today is worrying and it has been one of the main reasons behind many of them developing diabetes. The situation has worsened over the years. This imbalanced lifestyle has led to poor eating habits, sleeping patterns, physical inactivity in the youth. Thus it is logical that the only way of achieving prevention of diabetes in this case is through follow up activities on the nature of the kind of lifestyle adapted by the youths. For instance, there is need to encourage the youth to consume a healthy diet as compared to the fast food and other junk foods they eat. It is significant to note that this will only be possible if the alternative choice that is being offered to them is more appetizing. There should also be follow up activities on the exercises and activeness of the youth. This should be done in a way that does not cause misery to them as it may lead to them abandoning this healthy trend. This balanced lifestyle should be promoted not only by doctors but also by parents as they play a major role in the health of their children.
A final diabetes preventive strategy to be discussed is promotion of wellness strategies among the young people. This should also be extended to women as it has been confirmed that type-1 diabetes tends to develop from poor feeding habits by women. Thus by improving the kind of nutrition taken into the body, it is possible to prevent this chronic disease and safeguard the future of the nations of the world. In the case of adapting a healthy diet, nutritionists recommend inclusion of whole grain in the diet as opposed to consuming large amounts of processed carbohydrates and foods endowed with fats. Tuomilehto, Schwarz, and Lindstrom affirms that this is significant as whole grain contains packages of elements that improve to a large extent health. This is because fiber has the capability to break down starch into glucose reducing the level of blood sugar and insulin. Thus promotion of nutritional and diet intakes is an essential method of preventing diabetes among the youth population of the world.
Diabetes remains a key challenge among the nations of the world. The most vulnerable group affected by this chronic disease is the youth. This has caused a lot of anxiety among governments and health care sectors of the world. The fact that diabetes which was initially a condition that affected the old is currently affecting individuals as young as 17 year olds is quite worrying. It is therefore understandable to witness the various initiatives that governments have come up with in a bid to prevent this disease from destroying their future as it lays victim to the youth. These preventive strategies are counter measures taken against the various causes of diabetes among the youth. However, the most significant preventive strategy that can be set in place is increasing awareness of diabetes among the youths through sharing information. This can be effective if it is done through communication platforms that the youth enjoy so much such as social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.