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Diabetogenic Environment

Diabetogenic environment

Kenyan Unhealthy lifestyle

Unhealthy lifestyles placing Kenya at risk of diabetes. Increased adoption of unhealthy lifestyle habits by Kenyans over the last 40 years has contributed to the rising number of people with diabetes.

A 2017 report jointly published by the World Health Organization and the Lancet on World Health Day, shows the prevalence of diabetes in Kenya had risen by 150 percent from 2.4 percent in 1980 to six percent in 2014.

According to the report, one in every 17 Kenyans especially the younger population has diabetes.


The rising numbers have been attributed to increased urbanization in the country that has altered our eating habits and how we live. Most Kenyans in urban centers drive to work, use elevators and lifts to offices meaning they spend less time doing physical activity.

At workplaces use of automated machines has made work easier relieving work pressure for many. People are now doing less work that requires them to put more energy into tasks.

While workload has reduced, Kenyans have not cut down consumption of high-energy foods to match the changing work environment and needs.

Culinary tradition

Kenyans are still holding on to their culinary tradition based on a heavy meal plan that feeds people sufficiently. Across the country, sustained consumption of Ugali, Rice, Chapati, Matoke, potatoes, and Githeri in gigantic portions is still a common practice.

But over time, Kenyans have been oblivious of the amount of starch-laden diets they take. Sometimes local menus can have two to three starches on the go.

A big population has as a result become overweight and obese, key factors that are driving this dramatic rise in people with diabetes. International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95 percent of reported cases in the country and globally.

The IDF Diabetes Atlas shows that more than 500 thousand Kenyan adults are living with diabetes with an estimated 40 percent unaware that they are diabetic.


 Lack of enough awareness programs to encourage people to conduct regular check-ups is lacking, leading to the growing diabetes burden.

Over the next 25 years, the number of diabetic patients is projected to triple. IDF Diabetes Atlas also shows more than 463 million adults are living with diabetes around the world and the numbers could rise to 700 million.