Obesity Watch: New Zealand Restaurants Urged to Cut Fat in Food to Curb Diabetes

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By Reissa Su | November 13, 2013 2:52 PM EST

New Zealand cafes are encouraged to offer smaller portions or cut down the fat to help reduce diabetes. According to University of Otago researchers, seven per cent of adults in New Zealand have a high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

A new research from the Edgar National Centre for Diabetes and Obesity Research has discovered that people with pre-diabetes symptoms will be less likely to develop the disease if their diet will improve.

The World Diabetes Day is observed on Nov 14, and researchers believe that following a healthier diet can improve blood sugar levels.  The Kiwi researchers also urged restaurants and cafes in the country to offer patrons with smaller servings.

Researcher Kirsten Coppell said smaller meals and observing a strict diet can significantly reduce the amount of unhealthy ingredients in the diet. Dr. Coppell said the university center suggests customising a person's diet to their socio-economic and cultural circumstances.

According to experts, diabetes is a complication of obesity. It is not only adults that suffer from obesity but children too.

The institute found that more than a third of New Zealand children are watching television at least 5 hours a day. New research has linked couch potato behaviour to New Zealand's increasing rate of childhood obesity. 

The Kiwi institute studied 284,000 teenagers and children, including 5,800 young New Zealanders. Their findings revealed that children who watched more television are more likely to be overweight or obese.

The link between television and obesity was specifically strong among teenage girls who watch television for five straight hours daily. The institute also found children and teens sitting in front of the television for the most part of the day. Researchers said at least 32 per cent of children watch between three and five hours of the day, while 11 per cent sit in front of the TV for five hours or more.

According to the study, the findings are on top of other activities like playing video games and spending time updating social networks.

Dr Coppell said diabetes is a common and chronic disease affecting 7 per cent of New Zealand's adult population.  Researchers promote of diabetes education and prevention as the focus of the upcoming World Diabetes Day.  

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