Tony Blair’s speech on the state of health in the nation has some resonance for the diabetic healthcare community . The PM urged individuals to take responsibility for their own lifestyle, calling for individuals to move away from the ‘nanny state.’ Diabetes and obesity were highlighted as indicators of the scale of the problem.
The Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, Douglas Smallwood, responded to the speech with the following: “Although diabetes is not always about lifestyle, we know that in many cases of Type 2 diabetes, lifestyle does play a part. Individuals do have a role to play in taking control of their lifestyle, but this is only half the story . People still need to be provided with the information and support they need to make the right decisions.”
Smallwood continued: “Also, a much firmer line needs to be taken to force the food industry to adhere to food labelling guidelines so people know what’s in the food they buy. Junk food advertising to kids should be banned now and more ways must be found to encourage people to take more exercise . We know that many local health services are not delivering care which is up to scratch. A longer-term approach must be taken to cut the costs incurred through treating the complications of diabetes. We are now seeing kids as young as seven being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, previously only seen in those over 40. If attention isn’t focused on both prevention and the care of people with diabetes, we will start seeing our children growing up losing limbs and becoming blind as they develop the serious complications of having the condition. Action needs to be taken by both individuals and the government or we will be facing an even bigger problem in years to come.”

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