Immigrants run a risk 2-6 times greater than native Belgians in developing type 2 diabetes. According to the Flemish Diabetes Associations (VDV), Surinamese, Hindus, Turks, and Muslims appear significantly most susceptible to the disease among immigrants. The VDV has also states that ethnicity is a big risk factor, in addition to the hereditary tendency for an increased risk.
In addition, the VDV has recommended lifestyle changes for those most at risk, which includes many members of the Muslim community. “Ramadan is a risk period,” says the VDV. “By suddenly dropping the normal treatment rhythm, there is more of a risk to increase or lower the blood sugar levels.” The VDV thus recommends that Muslims with diabetes not fast during the month of Ramadan. In addition, the Flemish Institute for Health Promotion has made specially adapted food for these communities, recommending products like couscous, feta cheese, dates, figs, and pumpkins as alternatives to sweets and desserts.