HealthWellbeing & Leisure

Nigerians spend $4.5b annually on diabetes: causes and prevention to know

In Nigeria, diabetes exacts a staggering financial toll, costing the nation a substantial $4.5 billion annually, with individual patients spending at least N300,000 on healthcare expenses. This alarming revelation underscores the urgent need for a deeper understanding of the causes and effective preventive measures against this pervasive health issue.

Causes of Diabetes:

Diabetes, a disease affecting over 11.2 million Nigerians, primarily manifests as type 2 diabetes in more than 90% of cases. The root causes are multifaceted, involving both genetic predisposition and lifestyle factors. Sedentary lifestyles, coupled with poor dietary choices, contribute significantly to the surge in diabetes cases.

Diabetes Risk Factors:

Understanding the risk factors associated with diabetes is crucial for preemptive action. Factors such as unhealthy diet patterns, lack of physical activity, and genetic susceptibility increase the likelihood of developing diabetes. The nation’s high burden of diabetes is further exacerbated by underreporting, leaving many unaware of their diabetic status.

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  • Preventive Measures for Diabetes:                                                                                                                  The key to stemming the rising tide of diabetes lies in preventive measures that individuals can adopt in their daily lives. Embracing a diabetes prevention diet is paramount. Incorporating a prediabetes diet food list rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can significantly reduce the risk of diabetes onset. Avoiding foods that contribute to diabetes, such as sugary beverages, is equally essential.
  • Lifestyle Changes for Diabetes Prevention:                                                                                   Implementing lifestyle changes is a powerful strategy for preventing diabetes. Regular physical activity, even in the form of brisk walking or other moderate exercises, can contribute to maintaining a healthy weight and regulating blood sugar levels. Making conscious choices to avoid diabetes development involves reevaluating daily habits and making informed decisions regarding diet and exercise.

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  • Government Initiatives and Public Awareness:                                                                                              The call for a 20% tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) by the National Action Plan on Sugar Reduction Coalition is a step toward discouraging the consumption of unhealthy drinks. However, it is imperative for the government to allocate funds generated from this tax to targeted initiatives. Public enlightenment, prevention programs, subsidizing drugs for diabetes patients, and inclusion in health insurance schemes are vital aspects that require dedicated funding.


As Nigeria grapples with the immense economic and health burden imposed by diabetes, individuals must take proactive steps to prevent its onset. By understanding the root causes and embracing preventive strategies, each Nigerian can contribute to reducing the impact of diabetes on both personal well-being and the nation’s healthcare system. It is a collective effort that requires not only individual responsibility but also supportive government policies aimed at creating a healthier, more resilient society.

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