Tuesday, 16 March 2010

If everyone had diabetes...

Diabetes affects millions of people throughout the world, and is on the increase. Estimates put the global population affected at 171 million in 2000, rising to an estimated 366 million by 2030. That’s a lot of people, but still a minority (albeit a significant one) of the total population. For this reason the world can still exploit the needs of diabetics, or ignore their needs should their market be directed at non-diabetics. Thus, diabetic supplies such as blood testing strips, insulin, needles, pumps and all the other sundry necessities can be charged out at premium prices with a small cartel of companies holding a nice and comfortable hold on life-preserving essentials.

Similarly, the food industry in particular are able to market highly processed, unhealthy foods packed with sugar, fat and salt at the majority of people with little obligation for the probable health problems and cost to society that ensue. This majority are also encouraged to participate in leisure activities that make few demands on their cardio-vascular health, leading to an ever-increasing tendency to obesity and heart disease.

But what if everyone had diabetes? Everyone would have to start taking care of themselves, or suffer the awful consequences. People could still choose unhealthy lifestyles, of course, but only in the full knowledge that it would almost inevitably lead to loss of sight, limbs or kidney function. Governments would have to take action immediately to prevent the healthcare services being overwhelmed. Diabetes consumables would become cheaper. Research into cures or treatments would be funded by all, not via charities that have to plead to a self-interested minority – everyone would have a personal interest in a successful breakthrough!

Maybe it will happen one day, with the way the numbers are increasing year by year…

If everyone had diabetes,
I wonder what the world would be like?
Would we give up our motorised transport
And all travel round on a bike?

For I’m guessing we’d all be more active,
And eat fewer biscuits and buns,
And maybe some chemist would come up with
A sweetener that doesn’t cause the ‘runs’!

We wouldn’t treat children with chocolates,
Nor feed them on pizzas and pies,
They’d learn from the start about footcare,
And how to look after their eyes.

Our food would contain far less sugar,
And we’d choose with more care what we ate,
There’d be warnings, like cigarettes, on packaging,
And we wouldn’t pile so much on our plates.

Maybe we’d see rapid progress
On things now affecting us all,
So we wouldn’t need charity for funding,
And the politicians all would play ball!

Maybe one day it will happen,
For we’re 300 million strong,
And the way that the world seems to be heading,
The rest will all join before long!

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