The emergency department of a hospital in Kiribati. Photo: Rimon Rimon/OB

Diabetes rise linked to climate change

Global food inequality is driving type 2 diabetes in the large numbers of people who are malnourished on the one hand and obese on the other,  reports for The Guardian …

The link between diabetes and climate change is highlighted in a new report from the IDF and supported by Bupa, which aims to put non-communicable diseases (NCDs) high on the international agenda.

Climate change is expected to cause people to migrate, increase slum growth, and makes resources scarce.

Rapid migration and urban slums also lead to food shortages and malnutrition which increase the risk of diabetes. In a cruel irony, the world’s poorest one billion people account for just 3% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but experience the most devastating impacts of climate change. Small island states are at especially high risk and are disproportionately affected by diabetes, with rates of more than 20% in the adult populations of Pacific islands such as Kiribati, Samoa and Tuvalu.

It is a self-perpetuating problem. Where diabetes is caused by sedentary lifestyles, argues the report, there is a rise in GHG emissions from food production and car travel: “A population in which 40% of people are obese requires 19% more food energy than a population with a normal BMI distribution.”

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