Managing your weight and eating a well-balanced diet are important in combating diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity, diet and inactivity and generally affects older people. *iStock photo
Managing your weight and eating a well-balanced diet are important in combating diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity, diet and inactivity and generally affects older people. *iStock photo

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 4: Census results on diabetes sufferers are misleading, campaigners claim.

Kate McKittrick of the Bermuda Diabetes Association said the 3,477 diabetes sufferers listed in the census was out by thousands of people.

She added: “There are definitely more than that — we estimate around 13 per cent of the population has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

“It’s probably more like eight or nine thousand people who have Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes.”

The Census records 2,694 people with Type 2 diabetes and a further 783 with Type 1 of the condition.

But Ms McKittrick said the figures underlined the need for a proper database on the prevalence of diabetes on the island.

Accuracy

She added: “The Census numbers aren’t accurate — it might be that people are under-reporting — but these figures could lull us into a false sense of security.

The sooner we get an accurate number, the sooner we can see what we’re dealing with. People are vaguely aware there’s a lot of diabetes in Bermuda, but we need better statistics.

“We need to try and contain diabetes and change the tide of what is an epidemic. Some countries have been able to do that, but it needs an accurate database.

“It’s a bit of a shrug-off when it’s put in front of you in terms of the census statistics.”

According to the 2010 Census, there are 2,694 people with Type 2 diabetes in Bermuda and 783 with Type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity, diet and inactivity and generally affects older people, while the rarer Type 1 diabetes usually affects children and young adults and is caused by an autoimmune reaction where the body’s defence system attacks the cells that produce insulin.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Statistics said Government officials planned to meet representatives of the Diabetes Association to discuss the Census results.

She added that the census figures did not include “the institutionalized population” — around 1,000 people.

The spokeswoman said those numbers included hospital patients, which includes a high number of seniors, many of whom may have diabetes.

She added: “During the 2000 Census, 1,743 persons reported suffering from diabetes Type 1 & 2. This number nearly doubled in 2010 when 3,477 persons reported suffering from the same disease.”