The Star (Nairobi)

19 November 2012

Kenya: Poor Lifestyle to Blame for Diabetes - Health Ministry

Photo: Phuong Tran/IRIN
Diabetes on the increase among young people (file photo).

Close to two million Kenyans are suffering from diabetes, the Ministry of Public health has said. The head of the Non-Communicable Diseases Division at the Health ministry, Patrick Waihenya, said diabetes may reach epidemic levels if Kenyans continue with their unhealthy lifestyles.

Waihenya was addressing wanachi on behalf of Public Health and Sanitation minister Beth Mugo during the World Diabetes Day celebrations at Nangina Girls Boarding Primary School in Funyula on Saturday.

Waihenya said the Mt Kenya region, Kisii and Mombasa are some of the regions that have recorded increased diabetes cases, largely due to inactive lifestyle, low level of awareness, negative attitudes and unhealthy diet practices.

"Diabetes can be hereditary. Majority of cases in the country can be attributed to unhealthy lifestyles which many Kenyans have adopted. Unhealthy diets and physical inactivity are two of the major causes of diabetes," said Waihenya.

"The prevalence rate of diabetes in the country could rise to 10 per cent by the year 2030 if lifestyle is not addressed as a matter of urgency."

He said more than 20 per cent of women and seven per cent of men in Kenya are either overweight or obese and more than 20 per cent either smokes or take alcohol.

This, he said, could contribute to the increase of diabetes if not controlled. "Simple lifestyle can change the situation as diet control and regular exercise go a long way in helping to control the disease," Waihenya, said.

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness, renal failure and lower limb amputation. The occasion, co-sponsored by the Safaricom Foundation, was addressed by Local Government minister and area MP Paul Otuoma, former VP Moody Awori and Goodwill Ambassador Julia Ojiambo.

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