A daily consumption of fruits and vegetables, even when you are diabetic or not, is a simple healthier lifestyle you need to keep you healthy when diabetic or to save from being diabetic.
This is some of the recommendations from a College of Medicine study done by researchers Adamson S. Muula, professor of Epidemiology and Public Health and Chimwemwe Kwanjo Banda, a PhD fellow at Public Health and Family Medicine.
Other studies done in sub-Saharan Africa also suggest that many people in Malawi and Sub-Saharan Africa could be at risk of preventable diseases due to unhealthy diets.
In their study—conducted using people attending a diabetes clinic in Blantyre—Professor Muula and Kwanjo Banda wanted to understand how the said people were managing their diet and also how to identify factors that enabled or prevented healthy eating habits.
Their study showed that many people with diabetes did not follow a healthy diet, or only started eating healthy food after being diagnosed with diabetes.
Part of the reason, according to the study, is that adjusting to a healthy diet was a challenge for many.
One female participant in the study told researchers that it is not easy to just stop eating foods you are used to abruptly.
“You wake up one day, they test you, and on the same day they tell you to stop eating this, this and that. Impossible! Let’s not cheat ourselves that it is possible right away,” she said.
The study also noted that that to reduce the prevalence of diabetes in Malawi, efforts to promote healthy eating should target the entire population and not only people who have diabetes.
The study concurs with World Health Organization which recommends that interventions to promote healthy eating habits should target the entire population and not only those that have diabetes or other non-communicable diseases.
However, as way forward both with regards to those with diabetes facing dietary challenges and the general population, the study notes that media and educational campaigns conducted in other countries like the US, Australia and Pakistan reported success in increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables.
“A study in India showed that taxing sugar-sweetened beverages could reduce obesity and prevent occurrence of type 2 diabetes,” reads the study.
Professor Muula and Kwanjo Banda recommend that education on healthy diet and its benefits be intensified through the media and schools to increase public awareness.
“Another strategy is to subsidize the cost of production of fruits and vegetables to make them more easily available to consumers,” reads the study.
Muula and Kwanjo Banda note that the advantage of population based interventions is that they are cost effective and they benefit everyone regardless of whether they have diabetes or not.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :