More than one out of every five children in Israel suffers from obesity, a fact which dramatically increases the probability of becoming diabetic later in life. There are currently 435,000 diagnosed diabetics in Israel. Cautious estimates indicate the an additional 200,000 Israelis are suffering from the disease, or from its early symptoms, but have not yet been diagnosed.
Apart from affecting daily function, diabetes is linked to health complications, the main ones being impairment of heart function, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and limbs. Diabetes is a prominent cause of death in the Western world and in Israel.
The modern Western way of life, which includes little physical activity together with a diet rich in carbohydrates and sugars (as well as sodium and fats), causes obesity, which leads to an increased risk of becoming diabetic, already at younger ages that in the past.
The National Program for Active and Healthy Life, “Can Be Healthy” (operated on behalf of the Ministries of Health, Education, and Culture and Sport) is leading a national effort to promote the health of residents of Israel, working to create an environment that enables and supports an active and healthy way of life, and promoting healthy dietary habits and physical activity in all population groups.
Among other things, the program is dealing with changing these Western lifestyle habits in the population, and reinforcing healthy diet and physical activity, starting from early childhood. For this reason, kindergarten teachers are investing educational effort in reducing the consumption of sweets and sugar-rich foods in kindergarten, for example when birthdays are celebrated in kindergarten. This effort is subsequently continued for all age groups.
The fight against diabetes begins in kindergarten!