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Diabetes projection is alarming

October 26, 2010 - Mary Ann Heath
Hold onto your cupcakes, a new projection by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects that as many as 1 in 3 U.S. adults could have diabetes by 2050. The news is alarming, to say the least. The new estimates are also sad, because in some sense, we are doing it to ourselves. According to CDC estimates, as many as 1 in 10 have diabetes now, and the numbers could swell to 1 in 5, or 1 in 3 by mid-century if current trends continue. Diabetes — a disease where the body has difficulty processing sugar — was the nation’s seventh leading cause of death in 2007. Type 1, normally diagnosed in children or young adults, occurs when the body fails to produce enough insulin to help sugar get into cells. Type 2 occurs when the body’s cells resist insulin’s attempts to transport sugar. It is most common in people who are overweight and obese. Type 2 now accounts for about 95 percent of cases, according to an article published by the Associated Press Oct. 23. Ninety-five percent! In other words, up to 95 percent of diabetes cases in the U.S. may be preventable — controlled or eliminated through diet and exercise. Unfortunately, many are oblivious to the damage they do to their bodies when they load up on empty calories and grow too busy to exercise, or cook. It appears Americans grow more and more reliant on convenience: fast food, processed food. It’s too bad we don’t recognize how inconvenient it is in the end. Americans need to stop and consider what’s happening to themselves, their bodies, their children... And there are options out there — even in the drive-thru. Several fast food establishments now offer healthier options on their menu. And there are also healthy meals that are quick to throw together. Some of my favorite go-to meals include baked chicken dishes, and whole wheat pasta, and of course leftovers for busy nights. I also try to really weigh whether it is that much harder to cook something from scratch (where I know, and can pronounce, all the ingredients) vs. just grabbing something out of the freezer section, or a box of mac and cheese. Of course, no one is perfect, and we all need to fudge a little sometimes. But health should be a priority, and even small changes can have a great impact. According to the CDC’s Web site, Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a major federally funded study of 3,234 people at high risk for diabetes, showed that people can delay and possibly prevent diabetes by losing a small amount of weight (5 to 7 percent of total body weight) through 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week and healthier eating. Lifestyle changes are not always easy. Making changes to diet and exercise, though, is much easier than battling a disease that could ultimately take your life.


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