By Rosemary Marchese
Physiotherapist and mum of 3 fit kids
Type 2 diabetes threatens more amputations, blindness and higher death rates
We haven’t really got the obesity message right. If we had then we had better be able to explain why obesity levels are threatening our hospitals with more cases of Type 2 diabetes with more and more amputations each year. The ‘move more, eat less’ message is either wrong or people are not following. Either way, obesity is so much more complex than simply ‘eating too much’ and ‘not moving enough’ but we have to start somewhere, right?
Here’s one problem. A lot of people do think they are ‘eating healthy’ and ‘doing enough’ exercise. Unfortunately this isn’t always correct. And that’s not the consumers fault at all. The scientists are still debating on what’s right and what’ not! In one breath a few years ago we were being pushed into consuming more processed oils like sunflower oil and going for ‘low fat’ options. Now years later it’s the ‘eat less sugar’ and ‘go back to eating fat’ message. It really depends who you ask. And that’s not even getting into the ‘which exercise is better or worse’ debate. Don’t get me wrong. Science is getting closer to some answers but if it doesn’t happen to get the message across in time for consumers then the hospitals had better be better set up to deal with the side effects of Type 2 diabetes, the disease that often comes along with obesity. I’m talking nasty amputations (because your limbs usually start to die off), blindness and higher death rates…just to name a few.
One of the catches that comes with scientific research in this area is that it’s often short-term. Obesity is a long term problem. You don’t just wake up larger one day. It happens slowly.
But here’s the other catch. Type 2 diabetes is not just an ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’ person’s problem. You see, by weighing someone you are not taking into account ‘where’ the fat is on the body…and just like real estate…location matters, and it matters big time. Carrying extra fat around your belly is so much more dangerous than carrying fat around your butt and thighs. So, even if you don’t like the look of the extra padding in your lower area you may want to take heart that it is a long way away (relatively speaking) from vital organs such as your heart and liver.
So, we have a problem. Type 2 diabetes is growing and I’m not too sure people are scared enough about it. With the being ‘busy’ phenomenon it can be really easy, and often understandable, to put your health as low priority. Parents are the first ones I see putting their health last as they ‘put the kids first’. While we are busy driving our kids to sport or other extra-curricular commitments or yes, even doctor’s appointments, it’s easy to put our own health last. And yes, while the naysayers will quite happily debate with me to say they ‘don’t have time’ I beg of all of you to stop and find the time.
Sure, there are times in life or situations that really challenge us in regards to ‘finding the time’ but even a few minutes a day is better than nothing. Don’t kid yourself. As I’ve been known to say, there is not one pill, potion or meal that can give you the metabolic benefits that you can get from even one workout. It doesn’t have to be long, or intense. Just moving more than you did yesterday could be a great start if you are really unfit.
Obesity and being unhealthy and unfit generally ‘creeps’ up on people. You don’t just wake up one day unfit and carrying extra body fat. That’s because it’s those subtle things you do or don’t do everyday that make a difference. The habits. Choose positive lifestyle habits over negative ones. And finally…the big take-home tip…surround yourself with positive people who want to live a long and healthy life too. This will help focus and inspire you to look after the one and only body you have been given.
Rose is a Fit Busy Mum of 3 fit kids. She aims to empower mums who are time poor. She acknowledges that mums are ‘busy’ but tries to inspire them to regain their fitness through simple everyday habits that she promotes through her book ‘The Fit Busy Mum: Seven habits for success’.