To many, the prospect of developing Type 2 Diabetes can be overwhelmingly frightening. This seems to be the case especially if you have family members or friends who have developed the disease. But as you probably know, while the potential to develop Type 2 Diabetes is genetic, your lifestyle choices can significantly impact efforts toward diabetes prevention. If you’re anything like me, that knowledge is motivation to learn the most I can about the factors included in living a healthier lifestyle. The more I know, the more I can be proactive in reducing the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes – for me, and my loved ones.
In a recent Australian study, researchers studied the correlation between our surroundings and the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. They found that lower rates of diabetes were found in areas with higher amounts of open, green space. For example, in neighborhoods with 0-20% of green space, the rate of Type 2 Diabetes among participants was 9.1%. But the percentage decreased to 8% in neighborhoods with over 40% of green space. Interestingly enough, this pattern was consistent in all neighborhoods, regardless of its economic status. This suggests that regardless of your background, living near open green areas can reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes. These findings are consistent with previous studies, all of which suggest that living near open, green areas encourage more active lifestyles, thereby reducing the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
So, what can we do with this information? For one, be mindful of this data if you do happen to be making a move. Be aware of the amount of green, open space when weighing the pros and cons of your potential new location. And for those of us that can’t exactly pick up and move to greener pastures? In that case, become involved in your local government. Let your representatives know that you support the building of new parks. Inform your neighbors of the benefits that accompany increased access to nature, and how it can prevent and hamper the ever increasing spread of Type 2 Diabetes. And thirdly, appreciate and take advantage of whatever green space you do have in your neighborhood. Step away from the screen, and venture outside. Remember: more green, means less diabetes.