MEXICO CITY – The problems associated with diabetes “could put women who have – or have a propensity for having – this disease into a vulnerable situation,” according to Mexican nutrition sociology researcher Liliana Martinez.
She emphasized that this is one thing about the consequences of diabetes that is little explored since “in many countries, access to health care systems, as well as providing attention to the prevention of chronic lifestyle diseases is unequal.”
“Considering the position of women as vulnerable subjects in this kind of situation is not just a merely biological matter, but rather one of ideologies that have a direct impact on quality of life,” said Martinez on World Diabetes Day, which is observed on Nov. 14.
Her argument is based on the lack of access to health care systems by people who are not engaged in formal economic activities – mainly women – according to an ideology in which women’s health is given second-class status.
Martinez said that “the priority is given to those who have a paying job.”
Given that diabetes is very much linked with lifestyle and involves daily actions that influence people’s physical and emotional wellbeing, the role of women in many cultures is relegated to the back burner and this “also has consequences for health.”
“An example of this is how in some communities in a vulnerable situation the greater portion of food is reserved for the man of the house,” she said.
The “serving” role taken on by the woman in some cultures also ensures that their health may become compromised.
Martinez proposed that treating diabetes must not only include the physical part, but also “the entire social apparatus that exists in the background.”
According to figures compiled in the 2016 National Health Survey, more than 9.2 percent of the Mexican population was found to have diabetes, and by 2016 it was 9.4 percent. Moreover, according to the National Statistics and Geography Institute, diabetes killed some 98,500 people in Mexico in 2015.
This disease is the primary cause of death in Mexico.