‘Fast food, irregular hours contributing to diabetes’
The Philippines is fast becoming a diabetes “hotspot” as more Filipinos take to Western eating habits and working late hours, according to a health expert.
Citing the National Nutrition and Health Survey, endocrinologist Dr. Ma. Cecille Cruz said the prevalence of diabetes in the country was at 7.2 percent, indicating that over 7 million Filipinos were vulnerable to blindness, limb amputation and kidney failure, among the major complications of the disease.
The figures suggested that by 2040, the Philippines would be among the top 10 countries with the highest prevalence of Type 2 diabetes, said Cruz of the Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism.
At present, the country is in the top 15 in diabetes prevalence.
In a recent briefing, Cruz said that while Filipinos were genetically predisposed to diabetes, their growing preference for processed and fast food made the country a diabetes “hotspot.”
“We have an increasing Western lifestyle, [where] we are seeing more processed food being preferred over traditional Filipino cuisine and we are working longer hours which [denies] time for more exercise,” Cruz in an interview with reporters.
She said the increasing number of business process outsourcing (BPO) or call center workers, whose shifts are mainly at night, was also fueling the rise in diabetes in the country.
“We know that [varying work shifts] takes a toll [on one’s health]. An individual subjected to this kind of environment or work hours will have his or her health affected simply because sleep deprivation is not good,” Cruz said.
Studies have shown that working the graveyard shift—which disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm—encourages smoking, increased caffeine and alcohol intake and food consumption, Cruz said.
“[This] gives people a bigger chance of contracting different illnesses, including diabetes,” she added.
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