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This column, over 45 years, has begged people to make the lifestyle changes that will help them avoid the development of type 2 diabetes. Failing that, there’s mounting scientific evidence that natural supplements supporting glycemic control can help mitigate dietary obstinance and lack of exercise. And in the event diabetes takes hold, then give thanks to Banting and Best for their discovery of insulin 100 years ago. But is there one more opportunity for Gifford-Jones to get the “prevention, prevention, prevention” message out?

How about the publication of a Gifford-Jones timeless classic for children? A book as good as Goodnight Moon. A story as meaningful as Ferdinand the Bull. Perhaps, a variation on The Very Hungry Caterpillar? A story of “moderation in all things”. How many grandparents would give the gift of a lifetime of health to their grandchildren by reading over and over and over again a story in which the doctor whispers, “Good night, …and stop it!”

Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease. It occurs when blood sugar (glucose), required to supply energy to cells, becomes elevated. Diabetics, having a genetic defect, experience a failure of the pancreas to produce enough insulin (type 1 diabetes). For others, the high sugar consumption associated with obesity results in elevated blood sugar that exhausts the ability of the pancreas to produce enough insulin (type 2 diabetes).

There have been other delightful Gifford-Jones ideas to help people think through the behavioural changes they need to make.  The “Gifford-Jones Stopper-Bopper” was one of them – a small hammer that could be used to knock sense into the head at the moment of an indulgent meal.

The “Gifford-Jones Talking Scale” is another example of a product we think would yield results. How many times have you read in this column, “Make your bathroom scale your best friend.” Or, “The best advice is to step on the scale at least once a day. Doing so means you are never faced with surprises.” How much more effective might the scale be if you heard the admonishing voice of Gifford-Jones, “You’ve gained three pounds. Stop it!”

Readers may have other ideas about what might work to convince people, young people in particular, to commit to a healthy lifestyle. We’d love to hear them.

But this week, let’s play tribute to the remarkable research of Banting and Best. It was 100 years ago this week, on November 23, 1921, that Banting injected himself with an extract from a foetal calf pancreas, obtained from abattoirs in Toronto. What an ethics committee would do to halt such approaches today! But millions of people owe their lives to these intrepid researchers.

The University of Toronto established the Banting Chair of Medical Research and the Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, housed from 1930 in a medical building named the Banting Institute. That location is being transformed into the currently rising Schwartz Reisman Innovation Centre, a research complex for artificial intelligence scientists and biomedical experts and home to an entrepreneurship network supporting student- and faculty-led startups.

But who will champion the simple things, like the nightly reading of a good children’s book with a short, clear message? “Don’t put too much sugar in your mush.” And when the scale talks back, don’t whisper “hush”. Listen to the doctor’s good advice and instill your grandchildren with words of wisdom. Start early in establishing healthy habits, and never stop. Anyone have a storyline to contribute to a Gifford-Jones children’s series of no nonsense bedtime reading?

Dr. W. Gifford-Jones is a graduate of the University of Toronto and the Harvard Medical School. For more than 40 years, he specialized in gynecology, devoting his practice to the formative issues of women’s health.

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