Online poll: Why do 5.07% of diabetes type II sufferers blame their national government?

by Mark Benson on November 27, 2012

Online poll: Why do 5.07% of diabetes type II sufferers blame their national government?

We recently conducted an online poll at the diabetesforum.com asking diabetes type II sufferers who they blame for their condition. We gave voters a number of options including the government, food manufacturers, myself, my parents and other reasons. While some of the results are probably fairly easy to predict it was interesting to see that just 5.07% of those who took part in our online poll blame the government.

We will now take a look at government input around the world in relation to diabetes and how the voting patterns differ across the four most popular diabetes groups who took part in this poll which were the US, India, Canada and the UK.

Diabetes type II

It is common knowledge that diabetes type II is one of the major challenges for worldwide health authorities with the World Health Organisation (WHO) predicting a massive increase in the number of sufferers. There are various theories as to why diabetes type II is becoming more prevalent which are often linked to obesity, diet, exercise and general health styles. Whatever the reasons why diabetes type II is becoming more commonplace across the world it seems that few people blame their local government which may surprise many people.

Is your government doing enough?

While ultimately the challenge of diabetes type II is being faced by millions of individuals around the world many people believe that governments across the globe do have a major part to play in the fight against this condition. We all pay our taxes, we all expect to receive high standard healthcare and perhaps more importantly for many people we all expect to be made aware of any issues which may impact upon our health in the future.

We will now take a look at the various areas of government involvement in the fight against diabetes, and indeed other medical conditions, which may give you a greater understanding of the problem.

Taxes

It is interesting to note that the cost of living continue to rise, many taxes around the world continue to rise and indeed it seems as though individuals are being squeezed from both sides yet not always receiving the public services which they would expect. There is no doubt that there has been major investment in health care systems across the world, there is no doubt that governments are diverting more and more tax income towards long-term issues such as diabetes but are you receiving a sufficient return on your tax investment?

It is sometimes difficult to know where your taxes are going, where they are being spent and indeed what benefit you are directly or indirectly experiencing in areas such as medical care. Perhaps if governments were more transparent with regards to their tax spending this may help to alleviate any concerns within the general public?

Educating the public

If there is one issue which arises time and time again it is the education of the general public with regards to medical conditions such as diabetes type II. We see the news, we see the headlines but not all of us are fully aware of the problems associated with this particular subject. There are many ways in which we can improve our chances of avoiding diabetes in the future which very often revolve around diet, exercise and general lifestyle. There are also many ways in which the government and the medical authorities can pinpoint those at potential risk of developing diabetes and advise them about changes they can make even at such a late stage to avoid full-blown diabetes.

It will be interesting to see how much money governments divert into public relations in the years ahead as the fight against diabetes continues. A dollar spent the day will result in a significant return on investment in the medium to longer term and many people believe that the governments of the day need to invest heavily today in education rather than drip feeding investment into this area in the future.

Specific taxes for specific medical conditions

Over the last few years we have seen many governments around the world suggesting new taxes to address certain issues such as diabetes with a much mooted “fat tax”. So far there has been little in the way of movement in this particular area and the jury is most certainly still out with regards to the long-term effectiveness of this kind of campaigns. There are certainly some arguments in favour of specific taxes while others are adamant that the general public should not be made to pay any more than they already do.

There is a concern that even introducing additional taxes for certain types of food and hitting food manufacturers in the pocket will simply result in additional costs being passed on to consumers in due course. Finding a way to improve the general quality of food available today, while reducing the impact on the public purse, is not an easy challenge.

National screening

A number of governments around the world have looked at the subject of national diabetes screening in order to alert those people suffering from diabetes who have not yet been diagnosed. This should also give governments around the world additional information on why diabetes is becoming more commonplace and indeed whether it is down to lifestyle, genetics or a mixture of the two. Assuming that some governments to go ahead with a national screening programme the information gleaned from this investment could be priceless.

Perhaps the most proactive government at this moment in time is the Indian authorities who have already announced plans for a national screening programme to investigate the problem of diabetes in India. However, is this screening programme too little too late in the minds of many sufferers?

We will now take a look at some of the regional variations with regards to this poll which seem to suggest very different opinions across the globe.

US (1.54%)

Just 1.54% of those who took part in our online poll believe that the US government has any blame attached with regards to the ongoing problem of diabetes type II. When you bear in mind that America has one of the highest obesity rates in the world this perhaps reflects the growing understanding that we all have a duty of care to look after ourselves and perhaps, as the poll is showing, in many cases the buck simply stops with individuals.

India (12.90%)

The situation with regards to diabetes type II in India is very different to that in the US and while the Indian government has suggested a national screening programme it seems that many people blame the authorities. It may well be the speed of reaction to the problem, the lack of investment in some of the more rural areas and the fact that Indian governments in the past have tended to concentrate upon the high population areas of the country which has concerned some people.

If we take a step back and look at the situation from a distance it does look on the surface as though the Indian authorities are more proactive than many other governments around the world but is this really the case on the ground?

Canada (9.09%)

While Canadian diabetes type II sufferers most certainly blame themselves for their problems, there are still some, although a minority, that believe the government has some role to play in this growing problem. One potential issue with regards to investing further time and money in tackling diabetes type II is the fact that many millions of people around the world have already passed the pre-diabetes stage and millions have developed full blown diabetes but are as yet unaware. Whether this will be a wake-up call for governments such as the Canadian authorities remains to be seen.

UK (0.00%)

The vast majority of diabetes type II sufferers in the UK blame themselves and there were no votes registered for the UK government. This would seem to indicate that public relations investment and education programs are certainly hitting home with regards to the UK general public. There is some debate within medical circles as to whether the UK government is investing enough money in direct research and development but in the minds of many diabetics across the UK the government is absolved of any real blame. Does that shock you?

Conclusion

It may surprise many people to learn that very few diabetes type II sufferers seem to blame their local government for the challenges which diabetes is bringing to their doorstep. If you read the general headlines around the world you may be mistaken for assuming that governments were public enemy number one for a lack of investment in education and research into diabetes but on the ground this seems not to be the case.

While this particular poll has thrown up some interesting anomalies with regards to the general opinion held by many people, often non-diabetics, there is no doubt that governments around the world will need to improve their investment in both time and money in the area of diabetes. It is a problem, it is a manageable problem but it is one which requires additional investment in the short, medium and longer term. Diabetes type II sufferers have on the whole absolved governments of any real blame but for how long?


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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