Thu, Feb 28, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Research links late snacking to diabetes

LOOK AFTER YOURSELF:Half of the population has an abnormal body mass index, and a large number of people have high cholesterol and blood pressure, a researcher said

By Wu Liang-yi and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Research by Academia Sinica has suggested that late-night snacking and a lack of exercise could be associated with higher rates of type 2 diabetes.

In the Taichung, Changhua County and Nantou County region, 30.06 percent of people eat snacks late at night, the highest percentage of any region in the nation, a study conducted by a team of researchers at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences found.

This is followed by the Taoyuan, Hsinchu County and Miaoli County region at 22.6 percent, and the Taipei, New Taipei City and Keelung region at 22.18 percent, the study found.

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes in those three regions is 26.82 percent, 22.37 percent and 19.99 percent respectively, it found.

At 43.18 percent, the Kaohsiung and Pingtung County region placed first in terms of the percentage of people who exercise regularly, the study found.

In the Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli region, 37.33 percent of people exercise regularly, with the figure in the Taipei, New Taipei City and Keelung region close to that at 37.08 percent, the study showed.

In comparison, only 34.26 percent of people in the Taichung, Changhua and Nantou region exercise regularly, researchers said, adding that there was insufficient data from Hualien and Taitung counties for them to be included in the rankings.

The researchers analyzed 10,000 sets of data — including questionnaires, physical exam results, medical histories, and information on dietary status and living habits — from the Taiwan Biobank.

Based on these findings, they said that they believed late-night snacking and a lack of exercise could be the cause of the higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes in some areas.

Chu Hou-wei (褚候維), a post-doctoral researcher at the institute who was responsible for the project, said he wanted to search for clues in the Taiwan Biobank for how obesity might influence health.

Half of Taiwan’s population has an abnormal body mass index, he said, adding that rates of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and other metabolic disease are also high.

Late-night snacking is like eating an “extra meal,” said Hung Yi-jen (洪乙仁), vice superintendent at Tri-Service General Hospital’s Songshan branch and a Diabetes Association executive board member.

Consuming more calories could lead to obesity and, naturally, a greater likelihood of developing diabetes, Hung said.

Furthermore, people go to bed shortly after snacking late at night, making it more likely for blood sugar levels to skyrocket, calories to accumulate and insulin resistance to develop, he said.

More than half of diabetes cases are caused by obesity, Hung said.

Apart from controlling their diet, people should also exercise regularly, he said.

People who snack late at night should at least stick to low-calorie foods, such as fruits and vegetables with lower levels of sugar or unprocessed nuts, Hung said, adding that they should quit the habit and drink water instead.

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