How low income communities influence the prevalence of type II diabetes?

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

Lifestyle choices and our environment plays an integral role in the prevalence of type II diabetes among particular populations. Some of these populations are impacted by the lack of grocery stores, and the prevalence of an abundance of dollar stores and convenience stores being the primary supplier of processed foods, which are void of nutrients. These communities are generally categorized as food desserts. The void of nutrients in these communities, most importantly, the effects dietary fiber, that are lacking in these processed foods, has been shown to decrease fasting blood glucose levels (Hagander et. al., 1988). Further, during postprandial, mean glucose is also lowered by consuming a high fiber diet (Hagander et. al., 1988). Many of these food desserts are in neighborhoods that receive few resources, and have a disheveled infrastructure, thus lacking adequate side walks, bike lanes, updated parks, and quality community as well as commercial gyms. This contributes heavily to a higher rate of type II diabetes for the residence of these communities. The byproduct of an environment that is scarce of foods packed with dietary fibers, and adequate parks and fitness facilities is obesity. Medeiros et. al. (2010) discussed the dangers of being obese, and its association with pro-inflammitory genes expression. This results in skeletal muscles being insulin resistant.

Exercise is the key. There have been a number of studies that have examined the difference in the acute effects or the chronic adaptations leading to a decrease in fasting plasma glucose. From what I gathered, both modalities enhance insulin signaling leading to an increase in glucose uptake, and glucose homeostasis (Röhling et. al., 2016). These results would be complicated to those living in food desserts, even if they began to adhere to a dose appropriate home workout, or outdoor park workout. The old saying is “you can not outwork a bad diet”. Even with an increased caloric intake of high fiber food to match the caloric expenditure of the rats that participated in a swimming protocol, the results still showed that these rats had a lower body fat percentage than the sedentary rats that were fed a lower amount of calories. This shows the importance of food selection combined with consistent exercise.


Craig, B. W., Hammons, G. T., Garthwaite, S. M., Jarett, L., & Holloszy, J. O. (1981). Adaptation of fat cells to exercise: response of glucose uptake and oxidation to insulin. Journal of applied physiology: respiratory, environmental and exercise physiology, 51(6), 1500–1506.

Hagander, B., Asp, N. G., Efendić, S., Nilsson-Ehle, P., & Scherstén, B. (1988). Dietary fiber decreases fasting blood glucose levels and plasma LDL concentration in noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus patients. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 47(5), 852–858.

Medeiros, C., Frederico, M. J., da Luz, G., Pauli, J. R., Silva, A. S. R., Pinho, R. A., … De Souza, C. T. (2010). Exercise training reduces insulin resistance and upregulates the mTOR/p70S6k pathway in cardiac muscle of diet-induced obesity rats. Journal of Cellular Physiology, 226(3), 666–674. doi:10.1002/jcp.22387

Röhling, M., Herder, C., Stemper, T., & Müssig, K. (2016). Influence of Acute and Chronic Exercise on Glucose Uptake. Journal of diabetes research, 2016, 2868652.

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