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Although obesity is increasing in direct proportion with age, more and more cases of childhood obesity are being seen. The reason is that while Changes in lifestyle of adults have occurred slowly over many decades, in children they have accelerated in a short time.
Until recently, children they played in the parks or in the patios, and today they spend those same hours in front of the computer, the video game console or watching television. At the same time, their diet has been transforming and 'Americanizing', both in the main meals and in the mid-morning lunch or snack. The traditional sandwich has been replaced by pastries.
Obesity and diabetes are two diseases that go together, so much so that in the last decades of the last century it was already observed that the lifestyle of affluent societies kept a Direct relation with the figures of overweight people.
And, is that the human species is not programmed for what is understood by western lifestyle: diet rich in fat, 'junk' food, low consumption of fruits, vegetables, vegetables and legumes, together with physical activity that is becoming increasingly scarce.
The clear consequence is the obesity and the diseases that are associated with it, with a very prominent place for diabetes. Both come together under the denomination "diabesity", which is already considered as the epidemic of the 21st century.
Although in many places on the planet, it has not yet been eradicated hunger and, shamefully, many children and adults (some 40 million each year) die or have a inadequate development Due to not having enough food to cover their needs, there is also an unstoppable tendency to the opposite phenomenon, that of obesity, including childhood obesity.
Thus, in countries where obesity was not a problem until recently, there have been radical changes: between 1978 and 1995 obesity in children under 5 years of age has multiplied by four in countries like Egypt. In Japan there were already 8 percent obese children in 1992. In this same country, the number of children with type 2 diabetes, whose increase parallels that of obesity, had almost doubled between 1976-1980 and the from 1991-1995. If traditionally type 2 diabetes, which in 85 percent of cases occurs in obese patients, was considered an adult disease, today it is being diagnosing at such young ages like 8 years.
A work published a few months ago has calculated that a child born in the year 2,000, in the United States, has a 32.8 percent chance of being diabetic throughout his life, rising to 38.5 percent in the case of girls.
Obviously, it is a priority to carry out a awareness of the magnitude of the problem both on the part of governments and society as a whole. The sooner you act, especially in children, the more benefits will be obtained.
Dr. José Ramón Calle.
Madrid Clinical Hospital.
Medical advisor to the Diabetes Foundation.
Contributor to our site
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