Portugal has highest rate of diabetes in the EU

A recent report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) revealed that Portugal has the highest rate of diabetes among the European Union member states.

The population in Portugal that suffers from the disease is at around 9.8 percent, with Cyprus and Poland following close behind with rates over 9 percent as well.

"(The rise) is a major public health concern,” the report said. “Because obesity is associated with higher risks of chronic illnesses, it is linked to significant additional healthcare costs.”

The data was released in the OECD's Health at a Glance: Europe 2012, which was released November 16th.

Alcohol and smoking down, diabetes up

Interestingly enough, the report also stated that Portugal is a country that saw a significant decrease in the number of smokers--down about 9.7 percent in the last decade. The country's alcohol consumption also plummeted down 23 percent in the last ten years.

And while diabetes rates are high, the hospitalization rates for people with diabetes are low, suggesting that long-term diabetes management is better in Portugal than in other countries.

The EU member states with the lowest diabetes rates were Sweden, Luxembourg and Belgium--all had rates below 5 percent.

Obesity also on the rise

According to the OECD, diabetes was responsible for about 100,000 deaths last year, and 52 percent of adults in the EU are now classified as being overweight or obese. Some obesity rates for countries in the EU have even doubled since 1990.

The report points the finger at the availability of sugar-based drinks, lack of physical activity and fat-rich foods as the culprits for the diabetes epidemic.

Source: Portuguese American Journal

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