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Diabetes eats its ways into society

NAIROBI, November 14 – The Kenya Diabetic Management and Information Centre (KDMIC) has said Kenya’s diabetic cases were increasing at an alarming rate.

Speaking to Capital News, KDMC Health Coordinator James Mwangi said the number of people with diabetes was expected to increase in the future.

“In Kenya in 1997 we used to talk of three percent prevalence and now we are talking of between six to 10 percent, it’s moving from bad to worse and something needs to be done” he said.

Unfortunately, diabetes is also no longer affecting just old people, Mwangi said pointing out that young people were also getting the disease.

“We have even come up with a new name for the disease affecting a person below 20 which is Maturity Onset Diabetes of the young,” he said.

He attributed the growing prevalence especially among young people to the changing lifestyles caused by poor eating habits and lack of exercise.

Mr Mwangi discouraged people especially the youth to minimise consumption of junk food and other processed foods to reduce chances of becoming diabetic.

He said Mombasa had the highest prevalence of diabetes with 12 per cent, followed by Nairobi, Nyeri and Kisii districts which had a prevalence of about 11 percent.  Meru follows closely.

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He noted that the prevalence in Nyeri, Kisii and Meru was high despite being rural areas due to the availability of unhealthy foods and a ‘comfortable lifestyle’

“However there is also a genetic marker of many overweight people due to easy life with excessive food being in these areas, but these people too don’t do a lot of exercise” he said.

Mr Mwangi said in future, the Centre intended to intensify its data collection to offer concrete records like the way malaria and HIV/AIDS are classified.

According to World Health Organisation diabetes currently affects 246 million people worldwide and is expected to affect 380 million by 2025.

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