Type 2 Diabetes Risk & Global Warming: What’s the Link?

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type 2 diabetesIf you thought global warming was simply a myth or only affected the environment, you might be surprised to discover that a study has found it can also affect our health. Specifically, the effects of a warming earth have been linked to an increase in cases of type 2 diabetes.

The study found that an increase in outdoor temperature has led to a surge in new diabetes cases in the U.S. But do not fear! There are healthy lifestyle changes you can make to combat the risk.

How Does Global Warming Lead to Diabetes?

The study authors found that during cold spells, “brown fat” is activated. This fat improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin, which transforms sugar from foods into energy for cells. This process helps to prevent a drop in body temperature during exposure to cold weather. The researchers suspect that since brown fat is activated less in warmer climates, there may be a resistance to insulin, and in some cases, diabetes can occur. If this prediction is true, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes could reach as high as 642 million sufferers worldwide in 2040.
So, how do you combat this risk in spite of the effects of global warming?

3 Ways to Combat the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Healthy eating and increasing daily physical activity are two of the most important things you can do to lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. Learning what to eat and how to eat right can help you achieve weight control and stabilization, increase your overall well-being, and significantly reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. Eating right includes smaller portions and reducing the amount of fat in your diet.

How else can you get on the path to eating right? Avoid fatty cuts of meat, fried foods, heavy dairy products, sugary treats, flour-based foods, salad dressings, fruit-flavored drinks, and soda. Instead, choose foods such as oatmeal, whole grain rice, whole grain bread, dark green vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, lean meat, beans, and peas.

Adding at least 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as walking briskly, mowing the lawn, swimming, dancing, or riding a bike, can help you slim down, strengthen your muscles, detoxify your body of sugar, increase your blood circulation, and more! If you have any health conditions, be sure to check with your doctor to see what types of physical activity are safe for you.

“Eat Right!” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, April 15, 2016; https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/eatright.html, last accessed March 27, 2017.
“Be Active!” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, April 19, 2016; https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/beactive.html, last accessed March 27, 2017.