Rise in type 2 diabetes in young people in England and Wales – BBC News

This is shocking but not surprising.
Obesity is by far the leading cause of type 2 diabetes and more children are getting fat.

It really is as simple as that.

But why are children getting fat?

Our body makes use of every precious calorie that is fed into it. Allah has made our biology incredibly efficient. Nothing is eliminated unless it needs to be and any excess nutrients are stored for later use, mainly as fat.

The maths of gaining weight are easy:

If,

calories eaten each day minus calories used each day is more than 0,

you will gain weight.

A 500 calorie daily excess equates to roughly one-kilogram of weight gain each week.

So eating an extra chocolate bar and packet of crisps every day would make us about a stone heavier in just six weeks.

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A chocolate bar and a packet of crisps is about 500 calories

And the opposite is true:

In order to lose a stone in 6 weeks, we need to consume 500 calories less each day than we use.

From this you can see that losing weight quickly by dieting is hard

However, the thing that makes dieting work is time; eating 500 calories less each day may be hard but eating 50 calories less each day is easy – that’s the calories in one Jaffa cake, or half a medium-sized banana.

It may take you 60 weeks instead of 6 to lose that stone, but it will happen.

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There are about 50 calories in half a medium-sized banana

Couldn’t I just exercise more?

Well, yes, you could but that requires hard work and dedication too.

According to fitnessblender.com there are at least ’50 Ways to Burn 500 Calories’, here is a selection:

11) Jump rope for only 42 minutes;

28) Kayak for 55 minutes;;

32) Do one hour on the stair stepper;

38) Do 65 Minutes of water-skiing;

48) Ice skate for 50 minutes.

So to lose a stone in six weeks by exercising alone, you would need to do one of those activities every single day, whilst not eating a calorie more than usual. And as we all know, exercise makes us hungry.

But again, time is our friend. We can burn 50 calories in about 5-10 minutes of average-pace walking; the weight loss won’t be fast but it will happen.

Too many people set themselves unrealistic goals when it comes to weight loss: aiming to lose a stone over a year is much more achievable than any fad-diet.

The biology of weight loss is simple – the reality is much more complex

Hunger is one of our most basic survival instincts. Our bodies evolved at a time when food was scarce: you would be lucky to have one meal a day when you had to go out and hunt it yourself. And food back then was much lower in calories. Today we have incredibly energy-dense foods that our bodies can process with ease.

It is now possible to eat more calories than you can burn off without even feeling full.

Just think about that 500 calorie chocolate bar and crisp combination: it might get you through a mid-morning slump but you will still be hungry come lunch-time.

Activity levels have fallen at almost the same rate that calorie intake has increased. People drive, work in offices, order everything online and sit on the sofa watching TV. You could quite easily live your life these days without walking much more than a hundred steps a day.

Then there is the fact that basic biology education in schools is limited, and making filling low-calorie foods require a basic knowledge of cooking, which is surprisingly absent in many people in Britain today. Poverty, of course, has a key role to play.

How I would tackle childhood obesity (in five easy steps)

  1. Teach basic nutritional science to children at a young age – even primary school would not be too early. Make sure that everyone understands the direct link between eating too much and gaining weight.
  2. Make doing activity easier. This would mean making sure there are open spaces, cheap or free leisure centres, better public transport and more cycle lanes. Have daily PE lessons in schools and incentivise pupils for walking or cycling each day.
  3. Make the most energy-dense foods less attractive, either by increasing the price, banning adverts or putting it in plain packaging, a bit like cigarettes. At the same time make healthier options cheaper and more convenient.
  4. Make food technology a compulsory lesson at secondary school up until the age of 16 and normalise the idea that both boys and girls can and should enjoy cooking.
  5. Encourage everyone to try intermittent fasting.

Steps 1-4 are already done a greater or lesser extent: the government introduced a “sugar-tax” earlier this year making many fizzy drinks more expensive, and in supermarkets chocolate bars have been moved away from the checkout to discourage impulse buying.

Step 5 is the one that I suspect would be the hardest to convince most British people of, but for me it makes logical sense. Let me explain:

Lots of people have very inflexible views when it comes to food – I say that because I have spoken to hundreds of patients who have struggles to lose weight.

The idea of ‘three square meals a day’ is entrenched in most of them – anything less and they might waste away. I have lost count of the number of patients I have seen who have tried dieting, only to give up because they felt hungry all the time.

Once again, Islam has the answers

During Ramadan this year the period of fasting between sunrise and sunset was just a little over 19 hours on the longest days.

The first few days are always the hardest but amazingly quickly our bodies adapt and we feel less hungry. When we do break our fast in the evening we will often end up eating only a small amount.

Islam teaches us that our bodies are perfectly able to survive without food or water for an entire day. Not only does this help us to understand our bodies and the strength that we all have within us, it also makes us appreciate food in a way that nothing else can.

If you can fast for an entire day, you have to wonder whether you really need to have that extra chocolate bar.

via Rise in type 2 diabetes in young people in England and Wales – BBC News

Five ways that Islam could save the NHS

I suspect that a lot of British people see Muslims as a drain on the NHS, especially in these post-Brexit, post-truth times. It seems to make logical sense that having more people in the country will lead to higher costs for the system, but I would argue that if more people in the country followed some of the teachings of Islam then we could actually ease the pressure on the system. Here are five brief examples but the full list would be considerably longer.

Alcohol

Alcohol costs the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds each year. This figure takes into account both short-term effects such as alcohol-related injuries as well as long-term health conditions such as liver failure. As most Muslims don’t tend to drink alcohol the benefit to the health service is immediate and easy to see. In my career I have only ever seen one alcoholic Muslim, but I have seen hundreds who are white British.

Obesity

Obesity is the public health epidemic of the 21st century: at least two-thirds of British people are currently overweight or obese, and again the costs are into the billions. For a while it was thought that there was such a thing as “fit but fat” but recent evidence from large medical trials suggests that this is not the case. If someone is overweight but is not diabetic and has a normal high blood pressure, they are still at a higher risk of developing serious cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes. If there was a word to sum up Islam, it would be moderation, at this applies to all things – including food. I once hear someone explain that the perfect diet was one-third food, one-third water, and one-third Islam. I have lost count of the number of my patients who don’t seem to understand the link between eating food and gaining weight; they come to me looking for tablets or a gastric band whilst they continue to eat most of their meals from a takeaway. Another aspect of Islam that might help is the practice of intermittent fasting: not eating or drinking anything between sunrise and sunset. This closely resembles the popular 5:2 diet which has been shown to effective.

Unlike alcohol, obesity is a problem that affects Muslims just as much as everyone else. One of the reasons is surely that everyone needs to eat some food to survive, whilst our bodies can thrive happily without ever touching alcohol.

STIs

Another obvious one: sexually transmitted infections occur most often in people who have multiple sexual partners and as we all know Islam prohibits sex outside of marriage.

Back pain

Back pain costs the county billions every year both in direct health care costs well as lost productivity due to sickness absence. Back pain is a topic worthy of its own dedicated post. Some days it feels like every patient I see suffers with it to some degree. There are some ways that Islam could help. Muslim prayer has many similarities to yoga, which most people know can be used to manage back pain. The prescription to pray five times a day ensures that our backs get a good work out. Prayer also has the spiritual element which can help to reset the faulty pain sensing pathways which develop in response to chronic back pain. Psychological therapies and antidepressants are often used to help to manage the anxiety associated with chronic back pain. There is a vicious cycle: patient’s worry because they have low back pain and that worry makes the back pain worse.

Anxiety

Anxiety accounts for a huge number of sick days both directly and by exacerbating other problems worse such as migraine and arthritis. Anxiety stems from our in-built self-preservation system. When we sense danger out bodies release a cocktail of chemicals which enable us to run away faster or fight harder. These days our modern brains are overstimulated by threats such as money worries, relationship problems and work stress to name just a few. These threats don’t need us to make those chemicals in order to deal with them, but our bodies don’t know that and they release them anyway. That is why shaking, sweating, dry mouth, rapid breathing and heart palpitations are associated with anxiety. There are lots of medicines that I can prescribe to counteract some of the symptoms of anxiety but not of them can tackle to root cause and that is why they are often found to be ineffective. The latest NHS recommendation is that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or self-help should be the first line treatment for most people with anxiety. One of the most commonly advised techniques is mindfulness, which helps to detach the body from the mind by focusing the concentration outside of our physical own bodies. All of this seems very similar to prayer to me.

Islam is a religion of communities, and having a supportive, trusted network close at hand is vitally important in most mental health conditions. I have seen too often the elderly patient who spirals into a crisis after the death of their spouse because that person was the only social contact in their lives; without them they become isolated and vulnerable.

Conclusion

I really believe that following Islam can have massive health benefits, both physical and mental and that much of the current demand for healthcare in Britain could be curtailed just by people taking on board some of the simple lessons that it teaches.