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Socioecological Factors Contribute to Diabetes Epidemic
American Diabetes Association calls for public health environmental approach

WEDNESDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- A broader public health approach may be needed to address the socioecological factors contributing to the rising rates of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, according to a scientific statement published online June 20 in Diabetes Care.

James O. Hill, Ph.D., from the University of Colorado in Denver, and colleagues reviewed the evidence on socioecological factors contributing to recent increases in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. The statement focuses on data which indicate a contributing role of social and environmental factors, rather than all relational observations.

The authors identify several socioecological influences of obesity and diabetes risk, including patterns in food consumption and changes in physical activity. Additionally, environmental changes are cited that exacerbate trends affecting food consumption and physical activity. These changes include global urbanization and acculturation; social determinants (i.e., poverty, education level); the built environment; the community environment (food deserts); technological advances in home and work environments; and the school environment.

"A public health approach to alter the environments in which we live, learn, and work in order to enable healthy behavior and healthy lifestyles and, therefore, to promote health and prevent disease may hold promise for making further progress against these epidemics [obesity and type 2 diabetes]," the authors write.

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