A health charity is calling for action from across Scotland to beat life-threatening conditions caused by our poor diets
Fresh fruit and vegetables should be subsidised in Scotland in a bid to improve the nation’s health and reduce the number of people contracting diabetes.
According to charity Diabetes Scotland, rising numbers of people developing Type 2 diabetes suggests Scotland’s reputation as the sick man of Europe is still deserved.
Its new report describes Type 2 diabetes as a bellwether condition, which means its growth and prevalence indicates the growth of wider health problems in society.
Diabetes is Scotland’s bellwether condition, not only due to its increasing prevalence but also because it helps us understand the wider challenges facing the nation
It reveals that since 2008, there has been a 28% increase in the number of people living with Type 2 diabetes and the numbers are still rising.
The Bellwether Report calls for action from the Scottish Government, NHS Scotland, local authorities, employers and the food and drinks industry through measures such as colour coded menus, a fair and progressive sugar tax, compulsory food labelling and a fruit and vegetable subsidy.
The report, which represents the views of people affected by diabetes, also outlines various considerations and measures that should be introduced to improve life for people who are already living with diabetes.
The patient charity is calling for the condition to become a national outcome – one of the means by which the health and wellbeing of the nation is measured.
It wants measures to ensure that people with diabetes experience no economic or social disadvantage as a result of living with the condition
Ryan McFadden, policy manager at Diabetes Scotland and lead author of The Bellwether Report, said: “Diabetes is Scotland’s bellwether condition, not only due to its increasing prevalence but also because it helps us understand the wider challenges facing the nation. How we acknowledge and react to these challenges is a reflection of our nation’s priorities and what we hope people across the country can achieve.
“We know that people with all types of diabetes are more likely to live in areas of deprivation, more likely to smoke and more likely to experience depression and other mental health issues. People with diabetes are also at risk of complications including stroke and cardiovascular disease.
“If we make a concerted effort to improve diabetes care and support, as well as taking action to prevent the rise of Type 2 diabetes, we can also have a positive impact on these other areas.”
There are currently over 276,000 people living with diabetes, 45,500 thought to be living with undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes, and 500,000 people at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in Scotland.
While there are many factors which can lead to a person developing the condition including age, ethnicity and family history; lifestyle is significant. People who are overweight or have a large waist circumference have an increased risk.