I am alarmed that latest figures by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Diabetes show that 9.28% of the population in Walsall South has diabetes. This equates to 7, 871 people and makes Walsall South the 15th highest constituency in the UK.
Diabetes is a growing problem. There are 3.2 million diabetics in the UK and this figure is set to rise rapidly. Diabetes already costs the NHS nearly £10 billion a year in direct costs. Around 80% of the total diabetes spend is going on treating avoidable complications including kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke, sight loss and amputation. These complications, and type-2 diabetes itself can partly be avoided through lifestyle choices.
I encourage everyone to make a lifestyle change. I and the Chair of the APPG for diabetes have started ‘The Pioppi Diet’ which involves eating 5-7 portions of fruit and vegetables, consuming handfuls of nuts and avoiding snacking between meals. This is based on experiences in the Italian village of Pioppi, where the average life expectancy is 89, a significant contrast to the UK average of 81.
There are many other health improving diets out there, which have varying appeals. I invite everyone to pick one and try it out for 21 days, and see how you feel afterwards.