Ruby working hard to beat her genes

Updated: Apr 24

The New Zealand Herald


Photo / Dean Purcell

Ruby Wright is worried her genes have got her marked out for a high risk of diabetes, so she is doing all she can to avoid the disease. The 54-year-old Aucklander went to her local gym, the Otahuhu Recreation and Youth Centre, which helped her to slim down from 89kg to 79kg by training and changing her diet. Mrs Wright's mother, Elizabeth Makiri, has diabetes, which put her in hospital four times in 2012. Mrs Makiri's sister died of diabetes complications, and the disease led to one brother having a leg amputated and the other losing both legs below the knee.

Mrs Wright is free of the signs of diabetes, but she is not complacent. "Because of my family's history, I'm worried that I may possibly get it if I don't remain healthy." A customer services receptionist for a healthcare products business, she has taken a break from the gym and has gained 2kg, but intends to get back there soon.

She said the Otago University trial might influence her to do more intense exercise - "I would try anything that's going to help" - but when she was last at the gym her programme was already "very, very vigorous, because that's how you burn the most calories". A big change to her diet, after taking nutrition courses [run by David Hill - text in brackets added], was to replace energy drinks and soft drinks with water. "I was surprised how much sugar they contain."

Martin Johnston