Professor Dr. Hanno Arrow: "Changing lifestyle helps prevent diabetes."

The number of patients with type 2 diabetes is increasing explosively. According to the Dutch diabetologist Hanno Pijl, this is the result of how we organise our lives. In an interview in the Algemeen Dagblad of 24 August 2019 he says: "We know from type 2 diabetes that it is a combination of hereditary predisposition, what you eat and how much you exercise. The vast majority of the people who receive this variant are overweight. You can calm down that process with good nutrition, exercise, healthy sleep and weight loss. Often people will be able to do so with less medication or even without it at all."

In the interview, Professor Pijl talks extensively about his mission: to stop the explosive growth in the number of patients suffering from diabetes 2. He calls this disease the biggest epidemic in our society. Being overweight due to eating a lot of bad food and little exercise, stress, smoking and alcohol are important culprits. That is why he is convinced that a change of lifestyle can bring about an enormous improvement.

Professor Pijl himself sets a good example: "Practise what you preach. I eat as healthy as possible, exercise regularly, sleep for about 8 hours, cycle a lot and rarely take the lift. I work here in the university hospital (Leiden University Medical Centre) on the seventh floor and I climb those stairs daily."

The interview with Professor Arrow reminds me of an article I once read about a study of people of the same origin who had ended up in different circumstances. For example, Pima Indians live on both sides of the American-Mexican border. On the Mexican side, these Indians live in relative poverty. On the side of the United States they have abundance and... also much more diabetes.

Again and again, nutrition appears to have a great deal of influence on our health. Or as Hippocrates, the great ancient Greek physician, put it aptly: "Your food is your medicine, your medicine is your food".