Today • • 14 June

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Disparities in Diabetes

How Diabetes Strikes The Undernourished

We celebrate World Diabetes Day in November. 

According to the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, diabetes affects more than 422 million people worldwide. It is also the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart failure and stroke. 

Globally, the prevalence of diabetes is on the rise, with one in two adults remaining undiagnosed. People with diabetes are often at risk of poor healing and poor health outcomes as a result of the complications of the illness. 

However those living in impoverished regions and struggling with malnutrition also suffer from diabetes. In low and middle-income countries, the presence of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes is also rapidly rising, overpassing communicable diseases. Malnutrition can be attributed to a person’s physical condition, social conditions as well as their medical condition. 

For this group, the illness strikes them at a much worse condition. Patients with diabetes residing in low-income communities face unique challenges, related to the lack of awareness, education, the struggle of accessing healthcare systems and medication as well as failing to achieve optimal diabetes management and preventing complications. In these poor regions, extreme poverty is found where people are hard to reach and have restricted access to quality healthcare, clean water and electricity.

For the children living in these communities, they are not only limited by their educational opportunities but also with the practices that they grow up with. Due to the limited ability to find or afford healthy food, the little opportunity to exercise properly and the lack of education, they do not have many opportunities to learn the proper habits. This will in turn affect their development growing up, as well as their lifestyle when they are older. 

For diabetic patients, diet remains the cornerstone of treatment. However for the underprivileged, they have no option but to eat what is available to them for it’s better to consume anything rather than to not have food at all

It is thus not a surprise that low-income populations have been found to be more likely to develop diabetes. Factors such as a hazardous living environment, unhealthy behaviours and stress leads to a higher incidence of diabetes among this group. 

Today, more than 820 million people are forced to go to bed hungry, of whom about 135 million suffer from acute hunger. This number has increased mainly due to the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With having little to no option of choosing their diet and lifestyle, individuals living in impoverished regions, especially those living with illnesses such as diabetes, are grappling with more and more challenges. 

Join us in our efforts to provide millions of life-saving, nutritious meals in crisis-hit countries through our Care for Hunger programme. Together with our international partners, we have been providing more than two million meals since 2015 where meals were given to orphans, widows and the poor. We hope to elevate the lives of these underprivileged individuals, especially those living with diabetes.