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      Globalization of Diabetes : The role of diet, lifestyle, and genes

      , MD, PHD

      Diabetes Care

      American Diabetes Association

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          Abstract

          Type 2 diabetes is a global public health crisis that threatens the economies of all nations, particularly developing countries. Fueled by rapid urbanization, nutrition transition, and increasingly sedentary lifestyles, the epidemic has grown in parallel with the worldwide rise in obesity. Asia's large population and rapid economic development have made it an epicenter of the epidemic. Asian populations tend to develop diabetes at younger ages and lower BMI levels than Caucasians. Several factors contribute to accelerated diabetes epidemic in Asians, including the “normal-weight metabolically obese” phenotype; high prevalence of smoking and heavy alcohol use; high intake of refined carbohydrates (e.g., white rice); and dramatically decreased physical activity levels. Poor nutrition in utero and in early life combined with overnutrition in later life may also play a role in Asia's diabetes epidemic. Recent advances in genome-wide association studies have contributed substantially to our understanding of diabetes pathophysiology, but currently identified genetic loci are insufficient to explain ethnic differences in diabetes risk. Nonetheless, interactions between Westernized diet and lifestyle and genetic background may accelerate the growth of diabetes in the context of rapid nutrition transition. Epidemiologic studies and randomized clinical trials show that type 2 diabetes is largely preventable through diet and lifestyle modifications. Translating these findings into practice, however, requires fundamental changes in public policies, the food and built environments, and health systems. To curb the escalating diabetes epidemic, primary prevention through promotion of a healthy diet and lifestyle should be a global public policy priority.

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          Most cited references 42

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          Epidemic obesity and type 2 diabetes in Asia.

          The proportions of people with type 2 diabetes and obesity have increased throughout Asia, and the rate of increase shows no sign of slowing. People in Asia tend to develop diabetes with a lesser degree of obesity at younger ages, suffer longer with complications of diabetes, and die sooner than people in other regions. Childhood obesity has increased substantially and the prevalence of type 2 diabetes has now reached epidemic levels in Asia. The health consequences of this epidemic threaten to overwhelm health-care systems in the region. Urgent action is needed, and advocacy for lifestyle changes is the first step. Countries should review and implement interventions, and take a comprehensive and integrated public-health approach. At the level of primary prevention, such programmes can be linked to other non-communicable disease prevention programmes that target lifestyle-related issues. The cost of inaction is clear and unacceptable.
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            Consuming fructose-sweetened, not glucose-sweetened, beverages increases visceral adiposity and lipids and decreases insulin sensitivity in overweight/obese humans.

            Studies in animals have documented that, compared with glucose, dietary fructose induces dyslipidemia and insulin resistance. To assess the relative effects of these dietary sugars during sustained consumption in humans, overweight and obese subjects consumed glucose- or fructose-sweetened beverages providing 25% of energy requirements for 10 weeks. Although both groups exhibited similar weight gain during the intervention, visceral adipose volume was significantly increased only in subjects consuming fructose. Fasting plasma triglyceride concentrations increased by approximately 10% during 10 weeks of glucose consumption but not after fructose consumption. In contrast, hepatic de novo lipogenesis (DNL) and the 23-hour postprandial triglyceride AUC were increased specifically during fructose consumption. Similarly, markers of altered lipid metabolism and lipoprotein remodeling, including fasting apoB, LDL, small dense LDL, oxidized LDL, and postprandial concentrations of remnant-like particle-triglyceride and -cholesterol significantly increased during fructose but not glucose consumption. In addition, fasting plasma glucose and insulin levels increased and insulin sensitivity decreased in subjects consuming fructose but not in those consuming glucose. These data suggest that dietary fructose specifically increases DNL, promotes dyslipidemia, decreases insulin sensitivity, and increases visceral adiposity in overweight/obese adults.
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              Active smoking and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

              Observational studies have suggested an association between active smoking and the incidence of type 2 diabetes. To conduct a systematic review with meta-analysis of studies assessing the association between active smoking and incidence of type 2 diabetes. A search of MEDLINE (1966 to May 2007) and EMBASE (1980 to May 2007) databases was supplemented by manual searches of bibliographies of key retrieved articles, reviews of abstracts from scientific meetings, and contact with experts. Studies were included if they reported risk of impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance, or type 2 diabetes in relationship to smoking status at baseline; had a cohort design; and excluded persons with diabetes at baseline. Two authors independently extracted the data, including the presence or absence of active smoking at baseline, the risk of diabetes, methods used to detect diabetes, and key criteria of study quality. Relative risks (RRs) were pooled using a random-effects model. Associations were tested in subgroups representing different patient characteristics and study quality criteria. The search yielded 25 prospective cohort studies (N = 1.2 million participants) that reported 45 844 incident cases of diabetes during a study follow-up period ranging from 5 to 30 years. Of the 25 studies, 24 reported adjusted RRs greater than 1 (range for all studies, 0.82-3.74). The pooled adjusted RR was 1.44 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.31-1.58). Results were consistent and statistically significant in all subgroups. The risk of diabetes was greater for heavy smokers (> or =20 cigarettes/day; RR, 1.61; 95% CI, 1.43-1.80) than for lighter smokers (RR,1.29; 95% CI, 1.13-1.48) and lower for former smokers (RR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.14-1.33) compared with active smokers, consistent with a dose-response phenomenon. Active smoking is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Future research should attempt to establish whether this association is causal and to clarify its mechanisms.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Diabetes Care
                diacare
                dcare
                Diabetes Care
                Diabetes Care
                American Diabetes Association
                0149-5992
                1935-5548
                June 2011
                20 May 2011
                : 34
                : 6
                : 1249-1257
                Affiliations
                From the Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, and the Department of Medicine, Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
                Author notes
                Corresponding author: Frank B. Hu, frank.hu@ 123456channing.harvard.edu .
                Article
                0442
                10.2337/dc11-0442
                3114340
                21617109
                © 2011 by the American Diabetes Association.

                Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ for details.

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                Categories
                Kelly West Award Lecture 2010
                Kelly West Award Lecture

                Endocrinology & Diabetes

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