diabetes pic 224.88.
(photo credit: Courtesy 'Diabetes Voice')
Although obesity and Type 2 diabetes were almost unknown among Ethiopian Jews
before their aliya, they have become increasingly common here, but the
immigrants are receiving inadequate medical care for the condition, according to
a new study by Dr. Anat Jaffe, head of the diabetes and endocrinology unit at
Hillel Jaffe Medical Center in Hadera.
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Her study was presented on Tuesday
in the Knesset at a special meeting to establish a lobby for the struggle
against obesity and diabetes, initiated by physician and Kadima MK Rachel
According to the study, only 0.4 percent of Ethiopian immigrants
had Type 2 diabetes when they came on aliya, but this grew to 8.9% four years
after their arrival. Seven years after immigration, the rate among the former
immigrants rose to 9.6%, said Jaffe. Between 10 and 16 years after aliya, the
rate grew to 16.6%. This is the result of adopting a diet that is not
nutritious, with too much sugar, white flour and other processed foods instead
of more expensive vegetables, fruits, pulses and fish.
While 92% of the
general population with diabetes said they understand most of their doctors’
explanations about the condition, only 48% of the Ethiopian immigrants agreed
with that statement. Nurses’ explanations of the disease and how to handle it
were understandable to only 26% of the immigrants with diabetes, compared to 47%
of diabetics in the general population.
Clinical dietitians did better,
with 45% of the immigrants understanding their information and instructions,
compared to 98% among patients in the general population.
didn’t get their message across; only 18% of the immigrants understood, compared
to 79% of veteran Israelis with the condition.
It is known around the
world that the poor and uneducated are more likely to contract the chronic
disease than the well-off and educated, who are more likely to exercise and eat
nutritious – and more expensive – food.