Type 2 Diabetes in the Bahamas: Casey Thein

Diabetes is a disease that affects nearly 300 million people globally. That number is expected to double within the next 30 years. The majority of that population falls under the title of Type 2 Diabetes, as it is the most common form of the disease. In Type 2 Diabetes, cells fail to use insulin properly. Over time this results in insulin resistance and an absolute insulin deficiency. Even though, when compared to other nations around the world, the Bahamas have a relatively low population, the prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes has become a major issue. The obesity rate among adults in the Bahamas has continually risen over time reaching the point of 34.7% in 2008 and currently is higher than that. This ranks the Bahamas at 13th in the world for obesity rates, worse than the United States.

 Obesity greatly increases the chance that one is diagnosed with Diabetes. In 2005, a study conducted by the Bahamian Ministry of Health showed that 9.2% of the population in the Bahamas had diabetes, around 32,000 people. Also, 6.7% of the population had a condition known as “Pre-Diabetes”, around 23,000 people. These numbers have continued to rise in recent years and have motivated the government as well as global organizations to act on this epidemic.

So what can be done to reverse this trend that has been going on for years in the Bahamas? Eat healthy and get active. The answer is simple, but actually achieving this is not quite so easy. As technology advances, people are more likely to drive places rather than bike or walk. People can sit and watch TV for hours instead of going out and playing an active game with friends. Education in schools is especially important so that children at young ages can be informed of this deadly disease and understand that even though it’s a “silent” disease, it is important to take steps now to preserve the chance of a disease free future. The trend can be reversed but it will take time. Type 2 Diabetes is something that is manageable but it’s not something that can be prevented by taking a pill or getting a vaccine. It is something that requires dedication. Dedication to being active, living a healthy lifestyle, and having a healthy diet. Hopefully this is something that will improve in the near future!