Type 2 diabetes: how could our lifestyle prevent the risk?


Diabetes is a severe global public health challenge. In 2021, 537 million people suffered from diabetes; this number is estimated to 783 million in 2045 (Sun et al., 2022). More than 95% of diabetes cases are type 2 diabetes (WHO, 2023). Diabetes exposes patients to serious complications such as the risk of amputation, myocardial infarction or stroke, and dialysis for end-stage renal failure. Diabetes is also the leading cause of blindness in adults. It can have a dramatic impact on quality of life, particularly in cases of severe neuropathy (WHO, 2023).

Many factors influence the development of type 2 diabetes, the most important of which are lifestyle behaviours: poor-quality diet, low levels of physical activity, overweight, obesity and smoking (NIDDK, 2016).

In this context, the Global Fruit and Vegetables Newsletter of this month focuses on the role of lifestyle-related factors that could prevent diabetes.

The first article (Hong et al., 2024) is a data analysis study from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019 to determine how the burden of diabetes attributable to dietary factors changed from 1990 to 2019 across 21 geographic areas. This work showed that mortality rate from diabetes is decreasing thanks to improvements in public health, advances in the treatment of medical conditions, and early screening and treatment of diabetes; however, the rate of disability-adjusted life years is rising, with differences according to age and sex. Low fruit consumption was found to be one of the three main dietary risk factors contributing to the burden of diabetes.

The second article (Sampathkumar et al., 2023) focuses on gestational diabetes. This systematic review aimed to summarize the available evidence from scientific studies for the various components of pre-pregnancy lifestyle in reducing the risk of gestational diabetes. Findings showed that being physically active and eating healthily before pregnancy reduces the risk of gestational diabetes.

The third article (Esser et al. 2023) shares the updates of nutritional recommendations in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Globally, key recommendations for people with diabetes are largely similar to those for the general population. They are recommended to consume minimally processed plant foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, whole fruit, legumes, while reducing the consumption of red and processed meats, sodium and sugar-sweetened beverages.

All these three articles confirm that adopting a healthy lifestyle including a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables and being physically active contribute to prevent diabetes.

Jacky Vollet President of the Association des Diabétiques des Alpes-Maritimes
About the author

My adventure with the Association Française des Diabétiques and the co-founding of the Association des Diabétiques des Alpes-Maritimes began in 2010. President since 2010 of AFD 06-83, Association des Diabétiques des Alpes-Maritimes et de l’Est Var, Expert Patient Volunteer, User Representative in various public and private establishments, member of the Supervisory Board of Nice University Hospital. Since 2015, I am at the Board of Directors of the French Federation of Diabetics, and was elected Vice-President of the French Federation of Diabetics in charge of Network Coordination in 2021.

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