Lifestyle interventions

English

School as a resource for nutritional education and physical activity

Environmental  factors,  such  as  lifestyle  and  dietary choices, play a key role in determining a child’s body weight. Omnipresent and relentless advertising for low-quality convenience foods together with an over-reliance during leisure hours on television, computers and video games are driving an alarming increase in the incidence of obesity-related non-communicable diseases like type 2 diabetes among young people worldwide.

Preventing obesity in women of all ages - a public health priority

Most developed countries and a growing number of low- to middle-income countries have seen an increase in the prevalence of overweight and obesity, and the trend is accelerating. Obesity represents a major public health issue in women due to its association with increased insensitivity to insulin, negative implications for reproductive health, including polycystic ovary syndrome and infertility, higher obstetric risks, gestational diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

After a pregnancy with diabetes - a window of opportunity

The period after a woman gives birth provides a window of opportunity to impact on her short- and long-term future health. The end of a pregnancy heralds a transition both physically and mentally, and in terms of self-care. After delivery, most of the hormones that make a woman with gestational diabetes insensitive to the action of insulin are no longer present. In women with pre-existing diabetes, insulin needs drop dramatically; some women requiring insulin therapy to live may not need insulin for up to 72 hours.

Diabetes in Nauru: the price of economic wealth and westernization

While we may believe we understand the connection, Nauruans know first-hand, and perhaps better than anyone else, the bitter link between negative lifestyle change and one of its devastating consequences – type 2 diabetes. Located in the Central Pacific, 60 km south of the equator, Nauru is the smallest independent republic in the world. Its 10,000 inhabitants occupy a single coral island only 6 km long and 4 km wide. Approximately 80% of the population are indigenous Nauruans of Micronesian origin.

'Stomp the Fat' - an effective national weight-reduction campaign

Despite a fall in diabetes prevalence from around 35% in 1975 to 16% in 2004, obesity and non-communicable diseases, including type 2 diabetes, remain the primary threat to health and well-being confronting Nauru in the 21st century. Nauru has few natural resources and, with a population of only 10,000, does not have the critical mass to support manufacturing. Nor, with a tiny land mass of 21 km² and unfavourable topography and soil conditions, can it support farming.

South African children at risk for future diseases: the way forward

South Africa is a land of paradoxes. South Africans deservedly celebrated an exceptional Rugby World Cup victory in 2007, but we most definitely are not yet winning the battle against inactivity and overweight among the nation’s young people – which is placing them at substantial risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. South Africa has the added challenge of dealing with a double burden of disease: the chronic non-communicable diseases mentioned above and communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

Editor's surprise

Editior-in-chief 's editorial

The North Karelia Project: 30 years successfully preventing chronic diseases

After World War II, chronic diseases, cardiovascular diseases in particular, became a major public health problem in industrialized countries. These diseases were perceived as diseases of affluence. Finland was hit hard: in the 1960s, Finland had the world’s highest rate of deaths from coronary heart disease. Middle-aged men were dying in great numbers. The rates were even higher in the east of the country – the highest figures being in the Province of North Karelia.

The CARMEN initiative - Latin America's response to the chronic disease burden

In most countries in the Americas, chronic diseases are now the leading cause of premature death and disability. Responsible for two of every three deaths among the general population, chronic diseases caused almost half of the mortality in people under 70 years old in 2002. The significant socio-economic inequities in Latin America compound the burden of chronic disease (including early death) among poorer people, locking many into a cycle of deprivation and ill-health.

Preparing a global healthcare workforce for the challenge of chronic conditions

Chronic conditions are increasing. The number of people affected by chronic non-communicable conditions, including diabetes and heart disease, is growing worldwide. Collectively, chronic conditions were responsible for 35 million – a full 60% – of all deaths in 2005. This is twice the number of deaths due to infectious diseases, poor maternal health and malnutrition combined. In addition to causing high death rates, chronic conditions account for almost half of the world’s disability.

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