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Diabetes is a prevalent problem among adults all over the world. The disease is caused by problems in insulin regulation in the body which is characterized by either low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) or high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia).According to Biswas (2006), there are three types of diabetes which are Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational diabetes. Diabetes is mostly caused by several interacting factors such as age, ethnicity, family history, obesity and lack of physical activity (Biswas, 2006).
As a result of its widespread prevalence, diabetes has sparked the implementation of several research programs aimed at improving human health so as to prevent the disease. As a result, several health promotion programs targeting people who are at high risk of the disease have been commissioned all over the world. An example of such a program is the Stockholm Diabetes Prevention Programme (SDPP) which was developed by the diabetes prevention unit in Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm (Biswas, 2006). This prevention programme mainly focused community development, policy advocacy, life style changes, environmental changes and education (Anderson et al, 2002; Biswas, 2006). Generally, the programme was aimed at addressing preventable behavioral risk patterns such as obesity, physical exercise, and substance use such as tobacco and alcohol (Anderson et al, 2002).
In developing the Stockholm Diabetes Prevention Program, Anderson et al (2002) used a collaborative strategy in identifying the etiological issues to be addressed by the program. The groups involved in the development of this program included municipal authorities and their agencies such as the environmental and culture recreation departments; local non-governmental organizations especially those dealing with primary health care promotion; county authorities particularly those dealing with health care promotion; and the private sector encompassing restaurants, food manufacturers, industries, the mass media and all businesses operating in the locality (Anderson et al (2002).
In addition, Anderson et al (2002) identified several risk factors that were to be at the center stage of fighting Type 2 diabetes. According to Anderson et al (2002), there was a great need to focus on poor lifestyle such as poor eating habits, lack of physical exercise and obesity. Firstly, poor eating habits include the consumption of high fat foods that lead to accumulation of large amounts of cholesterol in the body. The large amount of body cholesterol lowers insulin sensitivity as well as insulin resistance which in turn lead to pancreatic malfunctioning thus causing diabetes (Biswas, 2006). Therefore, by focusing on healthy eating habits, the SDPP would reduce the cases of diabetes in the region. Food manufacturing industries and food outlets such as restaurants were involved in the SDPP by collaborating with the health experts in providing healthy foods in their menu. Additionally, the local population was taken through several education sessions about healthy living through diet.
Secondly, physical activity was also an essential need that was to be addressed by the SDPP. Anderson et al (2002) and Biswas (2006) put forth that, physical exercise is critical in lowering the cases of obesity and high body cholesterol. Therefore, people were encouraged to engage in physical activity so as enhance insulin sensitivity. Physical exercise arenas such the gymnasiums were involved, thus ensuring that the people can easily accessphysical exercise equipment.
Finally, body weight was also considered as an issue that was related to diabetes. Increased body weight is associated with high body fat content which as mentioned earlier leads to insulin resistance and low insulin sensitivity that eventually causes diabetes (Anderson et al, 2002). It is my belief that, the cost-benefit analysis done before implementing the SDPP was adequate to see the whole process through. This is the case because several stakeholders were involved in the project such that all costs were shared. For instance, the hospital did not have to use a lot of funds in conducting health education sessions all over the region since there were other health experts involved. Additionally, the benefits associated with the project were quite enormous considering that the reduction of diabetes cases in the region would ease the burden of health institutions as well as the government in allocating large budgetary funds for treating diabetes.
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