Walking dogs and shopping at a market are possible causes of lower than average levels of diabetes in Warwickshire, according to an expert in the condition.
NHS local has created two maps using the latest data from the Department of Health’s Local Health Profiles
. The first shows the correlation between obesity and diabetes in the West Midlands. The second shows the correlation between physical activity and diabetes in the West Midlands.
In the map below, red areas indicate higher than average levels of diabetes, yellow areas indicate average levels and green denotes lower than average levels of the disease.
NHS local has mashed this data, published on 28 June, with the data showing the levels of obesity in the region. Areas in which more than 25 per cent of the population is obese are marked within a blue border.
As might be expected, areas like Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent show both high levels of obesity and diabetes.
But in Warwickshire, in particular around Rugby and Bedworth, there was a low level of diabetes, despite there being greater than average levels of obesity.
Map showing the correlation between high levels of diabetes and obesity:
Dr Vinod Patel, consultant physician in endocrinology and diabetes at George Eliot Hospital, Nuneaton, Warwickshire said dog ownership was a possible explanation.
"People in Warwickshire are quite active," he said. "There are a lot of people here that walk their dogs. There are close-knot communities where people are not afraid of going out.
"The markets are another factor. Nuneaton market is a place where you can buy good food cheaply but you have to walk quite a bit to do so.
"So people in our area are active and while obesity is definitely a risk factor in diabetes, so is low levels of physical activity. If you are active, even if you are obese, you are less likely to have diabetes."
The other factor about Warwickshire is that there are fewer people from ethnic minorities living in the county. "Studies have shown that Asian people tend to be less physically active than white Caucasians," said Dr Patel.
NHS local’s second map bears out Dr Patel’s point. As with the map above, red areas indicate higher than average levels of diabetes, yellow areas indicate average levels and green denotes lower than average levels of the disease. With this map, the yellow boundaries denote an area with higher than average levels of physical activity while black boundaries are around regions with lower than average levels of physical activity.
The parts of Warwickshire with a higher than average level of physical activity also have lower than average incidents of diabetes.
Map showing the correlation between low levels of diabetes and high levels of physical activity:
Meanwhile the National Diabetes Audit 2010 has warned that the NHS faces a potentional time bomb for younger people with diabetes with nearly 300,000 children and younger adults at rick of the disease.