In the UK and like many countries around the world there is an ongoing rise in diabetes and obesity rates. Diabetes has risen by approximately 60% in the last 10 years and obesity stats indicate over 64% of adults are overweight or obese. Having worked in the health industry for several years there seems to be several common themes I have noticed as to why we are not winning the obesity and diabetes war.
1. There long waiting lists to see an expert due to several potential factors such as improved diagnosis, increased population size and increased strain on the NHS.
2. We all live very hectic lifestyles and don't make time to go to the doctor or even concentrate on our health. It is not until we are forced to make a change we do. We seemed to be programmed to work on a reactive rather than a proactive approach to our health.
3. When we do see a specialist we are rushed in and out in 15minutes and expected to be able to fully comprehend what they have said and also make the instant changes based on what they have suggested. In that short time they can only possibly look at the condition and not my whole lifestyle, how can we expect to succeed on this basis.
4. If you live remotely or even in some towns certain experts are hard get access to. Even when going via your private insurance company the expert you need may not be in your area. You are required to travel and take time out of your busy schedule to meet with them.
5. Behaviour change can not happen in a 15 minute consultation and followed up in another session a few months later. Life happens in between.
6. Those who do try to sustain a healthier lifestyles soon lose motivation, due to poor choices that are not realistic or confusion with mixed messages
7. There are some great apps to help guide you, but with limited understanding of the information is being provided, these apps often have a high abandonment rates. And sometimes cause more worry than good.
Surely with today's technology we can provide support to manage long term health changes, incorporating behavioural change and utilise digital wears that is designed around the individual's lifestyle and needs and enhanced with the experts input. Based on the rising rates of obesity and diabetes, it is evident the current traditional approach is failing.