New Brunswick

10% of Canadians have adult diabetes, report says

Ten per cent of Canadians have Type 2 diabetes, and another 10 per cent have pre-diabetes, making them more susceptible to the disease, according to the Canadian Institute of Health.

New Brunswick has some of the highest rates in the country

The Maritimes suffer from the highest national rates overweight and obesity leading to the highest rates of diabetes. (Celso Pupo)

Canada has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world according to a report released this week.

Ten per cent of Canadians have Type 2 diabetes, and another 10 per cent have pre-diabetes, making them more susceptible to the disease, according to the Canadian Institute of Health.

"The major reason has more to do with obesity which is driving the diabetes rates up," said Dr. David Lau, diabetes specialist and professor of medicine at the University of Calgary.

"Unfortunately we have one of the highest rates of overweight and obesity among teenagers and adolescents. Unfortunately, preschool children are getting bigger as well."

But the Maritimes suffer from the highest rates of overweight and obesity leading to the highest rates of diabetes.

"It's also known that people are less physically active, part of that could be because of the weather, but also could be the cultural differences, people are more sedentary and perhaps eating habits are a little different," said Lau.

"As a nation we are getting bigger and bigger, it's something we have to be actively doing something about."

Diabetes specialist Dr. David Lau says Canada is losing the fight against diabetes and some changes need to be made. 8:41

Lau hopes that the new Liberal federal government will step up and help to fight the growing numbers.

"We need health policy makers to come together to enact policies that encourage healthy eating and making the healthy choices in terms of food activities … the easy choices."

Other countries have initiatives that curb their population's weight gain and therefore improving their overall health.

"In France they started taxing sugar sweetened beverages and a result of that there's a dramatic decrease in the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages such as juice and pop … by as much as three per cent over a matter of three to four years."

Other countries have strict regulations on the kinds of advertisements they can run on television during children's programming.

Type 2 diabetes is a preventable disease, says Lau. Most of the time it can be avoided with a  healthy diet and exercise.

"We already know that diabetes continue to go up because obesity rates are not going down … it's going to go up about 60 to 70 per cent over the next 10 to 15 years," said Lau.

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