Monthly Safety Blast
Produced by the Southwest Center for Agricultural Health, Injury Prevention and Education
Diabetes on the Farm
More than 100 million U.S. adults are now living with diabetes or prediabetes, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report finds that as of 2015, 30.3 million Americans – 9.4 percent of the U.S. population have diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes develops when your pancreas is no longer producing insulin to break down sugar/glucose in the body. Type 2 diabetes develops when your body is no longer able to efficiently release insulin from the pancreas to maintain health blood glucose levels.
Farming men, women and agricultural workers who live rural are at potential at risk of developing diabetes, due to rural and remote communities experiencing higher rates of diabetes compared to major cities. An increased risk is attributed to the rising use of modernized farm equipment, vehicles and farm technology. These sedentary changes result in increased physical inactivity from sitting in machinery and excess energy from food not being burned up. When excess energy is not burned by the body, it is converted to body fat which can potentially sit around the waist as abdominal fat. Large waist measurements and excess abdominal fat is one of the greatest risk factors in the development of Type 2 diabetes. Other factors which increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes include: family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, being overweight or obesity and an unhealthy diet.
In most cases Type 2 diabetes can be prevented through diet and exercise. A few lifestyle choices or changes can help protect against developing Type 2 diabetes.
- Maintain a healthy weight – this can be done through exercise and healthy eating.
- Exercise regularly – try to build some activity in to daily routine.
- Make healthy food choices – concentrate on getting enough servings of veggies, grains and lean meats.
- Manage your blood pressure – talk to your doctor about how they can help you manage this.
- Manage cholesterol – while cholesterol can be influenced by your genetics, diet is really important in keeping cholesterol levels within a healthy range.
Often farmers are very busy and put off taking care of their health. Living in rural and remote communities may involve long distance travel to access health services a doctor or dietician. There are online and phone services that are confidential and will help support you to manage your health and reduce your risk of diabetes. Read more about preventing diabetes at American Diabetes Association.
Take the Diabetes on the Farm quiz to test your knowledge!
Disclaimer: The facts and information listed above are merely suggestions for your safety, but are in no way a comprehensive and exhaustive list of all actions needed to insure your safety.
Monthly Blast by our Outreach Health Education Coordinator, Nykole Kafka Vance, MS, CEP, CHES
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