We’re at a tipping point in Manitoba. An estimated 8.9% of Manitobans have diabetes. And that number is only expected to increase in the coming year.
What does living with diabetes look like?
Diabetes complications are associated with premature death. It is estimated that one of ten deaths in Canadian adults was attributable to diabetes in 2008.
People with diabetes are over three times more likely to be hospitalized with cardiovascular disease, 12 times more likely to be hospitalized with end-stage renal disease and more than 20 times more likely to be hospitalized for a non-traumatic lower limb amputation compared to the general population.
Thirty per cent of people with diabetes have clinically relevant depressive symptoms; individuals with depression have an approximately 60% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Some populations are at higher risk of type 2 diabetes, such as those of South Asian, Asian, African, Hispanic or Aboriginal descent, those who are overweight, older or have low income. Diabetes rates are 3-5 times higher in First Nations, a situation compounded by barriers to care for Aboriginal people.
Fifty-seven percent of Canadians with diabetes reported they cannot adhere to prescribed treatment due to the high out-of-pocket cost of needed medications, devices and supplies. The average cost for these supports is >3% of income or >$1,500.
As a result of stigma or fear of stigma, 37% of Canadians with type 2 diabetes surveyed by the Canadian Diabetes Association reported they do not feel comfortable disclosing their diabetes.
Did you know that, on average, newcomers to Canada are healthier than the rest of us?
They are. But not for long. It takes just two years for new Canadians’ health to decline. You can imagine how adopting Canada’s convenience diet puts people at risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity.
With a lack of access to familiar, healthy food options, many newcomer communities resort to purchasing unhealthy, convenience foods available near where they live.
But it doesn’t have to be this way
Type 2 diabetes can be prevented. Physical activity and a healthy diet are the keys.
Food Matters Manitoba believes everyone deserves good food that is needed to grow strong, be healthy and feel happy.
But not all Manitobans are getting the food they need. Some people can’t get good food where they live, some can’t afford healthy food and others don’t have the skills they need to make nutritious meals.
What can we do?
Knowing that the key to being healthy is activity and a good diet, Food Matters Manitoba partners with communities, building local gardens and greenhouses. Gardening is great activity. Not only does it yield fresh, healthy food, it gets you outside and digging in the dirt – it’s good for you mind, body and spirit. Check for fundraising events in your neighbourhood geared toward creating gardens and growing healthy food.
Learning to cook good food is essential to a healthy diet. Food Matters Manitoba partners with local community centres to host cooking classes for youth to learn important life skills like reading nutrition labels, modifying recipes and food safety. Click here to see how you can support a community cooking class!
In light of recent elections that brought a new government to Ottawa, and a new administration to Manitoba, get in touch with your local representatives and ask them how they will address the rise in diet-related illnesses in Manitoba. Click here to check out what health stats look like in your community.