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mardi 25 août 2009

Healthy Eating is the Best Revenge


Over 23 000 German Citizens were followed for development of Type 2 DM, Myocardial Infarction, Stroke and Cancer.

They were between the ages of 35 to 65 years. They were followed up for closely 8 years.

The objective of the study was to determine the effects mainly reduction in the above chronic diseases just by FOUR common lifestyle factors

1. No Smoking

2. Body Mass Index less than 30 kg/m2

3. 3.5 hours per week or more of physical activity

4. A healthy diet as defined by high intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain bread and low meat consumption

The four factors ( healthy 1 point and Unhealthy 0 points)

The Risk ratio for developing a chronic disease decreased progressively as the number of healthy factors increased

Participants with all four factors had a 78 per cent reduction of developing a chronic disease, 81 per cent less chance of a Heart Attack, 50 per cent less chance of a stroke and 36 per cent less chance of developing a cancer.

These diseases are collectively called Diseases of Western Civilization.

Only 1 in 10 adhered to all four healthy habits. But only one in 25 did not practice any of the above.

So the Western Man can prevent the Western Diseases by going back to a lifestyle which is slightly less Western.

Let us take a group of people, to compare the Germans with. Say, Indians from India.

The percentage of people adhering to all 4 healthy habits would be more like 6/10 rather than the 1/10 among the Germans.

Has that protected the Indians from Diabetes epidemic? Not all? Why not?

First of all, 30 kg/m2 of BMI is extreme for Indians from India, where 22-23 is considered normal and 30 would be in the obese range.

The diet has been consistently good since the majority of them are Vegetarians. And very little meat consumption. It would be interesting to see the DM prevalence among vegetarians vs non vegetarians. I remember reading an article that one of the highest prevalence of DM in India was among a caste which practiced strict vegetarianism. So it is not protective for them. They are not sedentary people.

What explanations come to mind then?

First of all, what is good for the goose may not be good for the gander..

The aetiology of diabetes Type 2 may be more than just physiological. I have felt that Diabetes is a Social Disease and it is much more prevalent among people who are




Living in conflict ridden societies.

In India, the epidemic of Diabetes coincides with the Economic Liberalization of that country which brought in untold wealth to a few and a necessity to change work ethics and morality to the majority.

What have I seen in that population?

They respond well to a more disciplined lifestyle with less emotional stress along with continuing a strict nutional adherence in keeping with their cultural norms. I have seen many many vegetarians under the age of 30 with type 2 DM who walk or bicycle 5 to 6 km per day but are under heavy stress to produce and meet deadlines in their newly found IT prominence. That is something new for the Indian bodies. And they are being given the gift of the Western Diseases..

Those who aspire to western way of living will be rewarded with western disease as well…