Skills Rethink director Shagufta Nasreen on diabetes in the Asian community

PUBLISHED: 10:08 02 March 2016 | UPDATED: 10:08 02 March 2016


Diabetes, particularly type 2 is a growing health problem in all communities, but the South Asian population or their descendants are at higher risk compared to their white counterpart.

Worryingly 3.2 million people are suffering with diabetes in England, according to Diabetes UK. The report suggests many more are waiting to be diagnosed - costing our NHS around £7.7 billion pounds annually at present.

Type 2 diabetes is preventable with everyday balanced diet and regular exercise. But we get conflicting advice on what food is good for us and which to avoid, from various health care professionals, almost every week.

Last Friday I attended an event supported by Diabetes UK, in Forest Gate. They made many things simple for people like myself, who might be at a risk of having type 2 diabetes. This could be prevented by following easy exercise and diet routines. They also provided a leaflet that had multi lingual translations, in Urdu, Bengali and Guajarati.

Size matters both in portions of food we eat and how our waist line measures up, we need to control both.

If we eat our traditional foods, that have a very good mix of vegetable, lentils, fresh fruit, poultry and dairy products in moderation it will help reduce the chances of us getting this.

We need an exercise routine, even if only a 20 to 30 minute walk everyday.

In the Asian community we prepare our food from scratch and it is a fairly balanced diet in most families, but still our community is six times more at risk of having this condition, compared to our white counterpart.

In our community food portion sizes are bigger and culturally we love to eat. Regular exercise is not common. We do walk and go to the park occassionally but not regularly and that makes all the difference in our weight increase. Timing is also important, we need to walk after a meal but, in our communities we eat very late and walk or light exercise is not included in tasks.

If you are not a big gym fan like myself, you need to set a routine to go for a walk with your family or friends everyday, to control your weight and sugar levels. We are hoping to set up Walk to the Park groups to support residents. More from Shagufta

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