Mississauga grapples with increasing diabetes
The increased cost of living and reduction in green spaces may be what is behind the increasing rates of diabetes in Mississauga.

Mississauga is currently facing increased rates of diabetes, which are higher than Ontario’s average rate. According to CBC News, Novo Nordisk Network for Healthy Populations found that most Mississauga neighbourhoods face diabetes rates of 13 to 16.9 per cent. In comparison, the provincial average among adults is only 9.8 per cent.

In November 2023, the City of Mississauga gave a presentation about diabetes at the Health City Expo to develop a strategy to combat the increasing trends of diabetes in the city.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the glucose levels in the blood are too high and a person’s body cannot properly produce insulin to mitigate these glucose levels. Novo Nordisk Network for Healthy Populations is a diabetes research group at the University of Toronto (U of T) that collaborates with the community and the government to address these concerns. Novo Nordisk is famous for creating the diabetes drug Ozempic—which is perhaps more commonly known for its potential to help some patients with weight loss.  

Ghazal Fazli, an epidemiologist at U of T, told CBC News that this “unprecedented” trend will be “on the rise in the region in the years to come.” Fazli states that genetic predisposition to diabetes can be amplified by living in environments that lack healthy foods and walkable green spaces. 

Fazli further emphasized that an effective strategy to counter the rising diabetes rates must “[meet] people where they are at” while considering any barriers people face when trying to eat healthily and exercise.

One of these barriers is the rising food costs, which have made it more challenging for Canadians to maintain a healthy lifestyle. According to a recent Consumer Price Index report from Statistics Canada, the cost of food in grocery stores increased by 4.7 per cent. Meanwhile, the overall inflation rate rose to 3.4 per cent year-over-year in December 2023. 

As food prices increase, sticking to a healthy and clean diet has become more challenging for consumers. Consumers often face a hard choice between prioritizing their health and maintaining their budget, according to CBC News.

Rob Trewartha, the director of strategic communications and initiatives with the City of Mississauga, says the city has been working to tackle diabetes since the pandemic. Staff are currently working on a draft strategy and action plan and will present it to the council later this year.

Associate News Editor (Volume 50) — Karine is currently completing her bachelor’s degree specializing in Digital Enterprise Management at UTM. She has been involved with The Medium since 2022 as a contributor. She hopes to contribute to society's efforts to provide authentic and factual journalistic media to educate her readers during her time at The Medium. Her goal is to take her interest in ongoing research within the business and technology field and explore ways to share it with others through this platform. In her spare time, she enjoys going on walks, FaceTiming her family, and painting sunsets with her friends. Moreover, she passionately pursues the chase of the Aurora Borealis, seeking to experience and capture the breathtaking beauty of these natural light displays. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.


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