In a review entitled, Diabetes Care in the Philippines, the author mentioned that the “rapid urbanization” significantly contributes to the rise in the diabetes statistics in the Philippines.
This is because with urbanization or modernization comes our increasing dependence on electronic gadgets. And although electronic devices bring a lot of information, convenience, and entertainment, they also pose some health risks.
For instance, various studies have already noted that excessive use of gadgets like smartphones and laptops can lead to a sedentary lifestyle – a significant risk factor for diabetes mellitus.
2. Traditional Diet of White Rice
Another contributing factor for the Filipinos’ increased risk for diabetes is the traditional diet of white rice.
As in most Asian countries, rice is one of our food staples. Traditionally, Filipinos will have at least a cup of rice per meal. Our love for rice has even given birth to the famous “extra rice” and “unli rice” cultures.
The problem is, some studies have already identified that eating white rice regularly can increase our diabetes risk by up to 1.5%.
3. Challenged Medical Care
Another contributing factor to the increased risk of diabetes in the Philippines is the healthcare system.
In the review, Diabetes Care in the Philippines, the author mentioned that our national insurance system does not offer comprehensive diabetes care in a preventive model. Moreover, private insurance companies often only have limited diabetes care packages.
This challenge in our medical care only means that Filipinos often have to rely on “out-of-pocket” expenses for their diabetes medical needs, like diagnostic tests and daily medications.
Current Diabetes Management in the Philippines
As of now, the DOH has been taking measures to curb the rising diabetes statistics in the Philippines.
The DOH’s nationwide efforts in preventing and controlling diabetes and its complications include:
- Free diabetes risk screening at barangay health stations, health centers, and local and provincial hospitals.
- Free medications like oral anti-diabetes drugs and insulin to Filipinos diagnosed with diabetes
- Empowering the primary healthcare workers on how to manage diabetes properly.
But, despite these efforts, researchers understand that the best investment is still prevention. This is because once diagnosed with diabetes, a person already runs the risk of suffering its complications. These diabetes complications can worsen the patient’s overall health and financial status.
Various reports indicate that the prevalence rate of diabetes in the Philippines is steadily rising. According to the WHO, the related risk factors for diabetes in our country are being overweight, obesity, and physical inactivity.
Filipinos have increased risk for diabetes mainly due to our increasing dependence on electronic gadgets that lead to a sedentary lifestyle, our attachment to the traditional diet that includes white rice as a food staple, and the challenges that our healthcare system faces when it comes to diabetes care.
Learn more about Diabetes here.