Healthy Living

Is Diabetes Really More Prevalent in Rural Areas?

Is Diabetes Really More Prevalent in Rural Areas?

Key Takeaways

  • In rural areas, there is a lack of healthcare education and there are less doctors around to provide care and education.
  • Foods that are high in sugar and saturated fat are often cheaper, and in rural areas people tend to have a lower income so they buy the cheaper foods that they can afford.
  • In rural areas, there might not be a gym for miles. People might not exercise because they don't have a place to exercise.

Diabetes, the disease wherein blood sugar rises to a drastically high level, is considered to be one of the deadliest diseases in the world. It’s not surprising anymore since so many of the foods that we eat are rich in glucose. However, it is not just food that makes us develop diabetes, but it is also how we manage our lifestyles. As stated by Yale Health, when diagnosed with diabetes, it is most likely that your body won’t produce enough insulin or won’t use it correctly, which makes your blood sugar rise. In time, a person can have serious complications in the body if left unattended.

So many people have this disease. In fact, according to latest statistics conducted by the American Diabetes Association, 29.1 million Americans are affected by this sickness, and 1.4 million are diagnosed every year. Surprisingly, there are studies stating that diabetes is more prevalent in less urban areas. There are factors why this occurs. Is diabetes more common in rural areas?  Are there any scientific reasons behind this?

According to recent health care news, if a person resides in rural parts of the country, they will have a higher chance of developing diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even identified what they call the “diabetes belt” – places that are mostly rural. These include the states of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. In these places, the people are more likely to get Type 2 Diabetes than in other parts of the United States. Because of this fact, people are also prone to having strokes and heart diseases as well. Why is this happening?

Why Diabetes Is More Common in Rural Areas

Lack of Healthcare Education: In rural areas, it is likely that people are less educated in terms of health. Unlike the urban zones, many are not introduced to free health discussions, clinics, and general health advice. Because the countryside has lesser access to health care, many are unaware of how their lifestyle is already affecting them. The longer a person is naive of his or her situation, the greater is his or her chance of acquiring deadly illnesses.  

Lower Income: The rural zone has lesser income when you compare it to the urban areas. Because of this, their choices of food are dependent on their wages. Families tend to use their income to buy foods that are cheaper. Unfortunately, these foods are the ones that have fewer nutrients; examples of these are carbonated drinks that are rich in sugar, cheap snacks that are packed with carbohydrates, and commercialized food products that are loaded with saturated fat. Daily consumption of these products will be deadly in the long run.

High Rates of Obesity: Food choices play an important role in a person’s health; this influences your body state and can be the reason why you acquire illnesses. While diabetes may not always mean that you will only get it if you are severely overweight, there is what we call “diabesity.” This refers to a person having diabetes due to extreme weight gain. Because people in rural areas tend to buy unhealthier options, obesity is common in the area.

The Culture: People in rural zones tend to be lax in their eating habits and lifestyle. They are more prone to smoking and feasting on all-you-can-eat buffets that are laden with high fat and carbohydrates. Also, because of a lack of accessibility, fewer people are visiting the gym. If being subjected to these extreme lifestyles, one must always detoxify and limit or burn their calorie intake to prevent diseases. Aside from genetic influence, diabetes occurs when there is a lack of concern in exercise and food intake.

Healthier Food Access: While much of the agricultural products are produced in rural areas, there is still a shortage in healthier food options. Because the products are bound to urban places, people in the rural parts are unable to have access. Some of these rural zones are located in “food deserts”. Here, food is limited and is not fresh in quality. Because of this situation, people’s health is being compromised.

Less Health Professionals: The lack of doctors or diabetes specialists is common in rural areas. The high saturation rate of doctors in urban zones means that access was difficult to get by. People tend to just brush off the early signs of diabetes and let them advance to a severe state. What’s saddening is that some of these people only become aware when their diabetes is worsening. The lack of guidance from experts makes remedy harder for them.

Limited Health Insurance: People who don’t acquire health insurance are more likely to miss their regular checkups. This is common in the rural zone since these people might not get insurance due to a lack of available doctors in the first place. Also, the chance of having free screening tests is withdrawn because of inconvenience.

5 Ways to Prevent Diabetes

1. Be More Active

Daily physical activities are a great help. It helps you lose extra calories, lowers your sugar level, and increases your insulin sensitivity. Instead of driving to your local convenient store, why not walk to a little bit of exercise? You can also do extra chores around the house. Any form of physical activity is good for you.

2. Eat Foods Rich in Fiber

It may take some time for your palate to adapt, especially when you are used to eating junk food. However, eating fiber is really effective in reducing the risk of diabetes. This improves your blood sugar control, supports weight loss, and reduces your chance of getting heart diseases. Introduce yourself to a new type of food range no matter how slow your progress is. You can start with fruits, nuts, and then vegetables. Once you get the hang of it, completely change your junk food habit into a healthier one.

3. Opt for Whole Grain Products

Whole grain products also have the same benefits with foods rich in fiber. There are several options so that you wouldn’t be bored with eating. There are several types of bread, cereals, and pasta that are whole grain.

4. Lose Weight

Regular activities aren’t enough if you are considered obese. Enroll yourself to a local gym and start reducing those pounds. Diabetes is very common in obese patients, and even if you are just a little chubby, it is always better if you make preventions. The more pounds you lose, the lesser chances of getting diabetes. However, it is also important that you maintain a healthy BMI. Being too skinny is also not advisable.

5. Be Aware

Educate yourself and follow a healthier lifestyle. Being aware makes you mindful of what you are doing with your life. Have regular checkups and maintain a balanced diet. Luckily, people living in rural areas can still do something about this. Just because studies showed that they are more prone to acquiring diabetes, this doesn’t mean that they don’t have any choice to choose a healthier lifestyle. In the end, it’s not about where a person is living, but it is how you manage your lifestyle. Is diabetes more common in rural areas? Yes, it is, but urban zones aren’t excluded by this too. By following a healthier regimen, the probability of getting diabetes will become lesser.