You may have seen the news about a report the Centers for Disease Control released last Friday on the rapidly growing trend in diabetes among Americans. They predict that by 2050 the number of people with the Type 2 form of this disease could be as high as 1 in 3.
One-third of all Americans. That’s a heck of a lot of people. One in 10 have this disease now, and that’s still way too many.
“These are alarming numbers that show how critical it is to change the course of type 2 diabetes,” said Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. “Successful programs to improve lifestyle choices on healthy eating and physical activity must be made more widely available, because the stakes are too high and the personal toll too devastating to fail.”
Diet and exericise can help;so can prevention programs for those at highest risk. However, it won’t completely solve the problem. According to the CDC, Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in 2007, and is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults under age 75, kidney failure, and non-accident/injury leg and foot amputations among adults.
Medical costs for people with diabetes are more than double that of those without the disease. Diabetes costs whopping $174 billion annually, including $116 billion in direct medical costs.About 24 million Americans currently have diabetes but one-quarter of them don’t know it. THe CDC’s predictions are based on the assumption that recent increases in new cases of diabetes will continue and people with diabetes will also live longer, adding to the total number of new cases.
Some people are more at risk than others, including those who are older, obese, have a family history, developing diabetes while pregnant, have a sedentary lifestyle and if you areAfrican-American, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native. The CDC is working on a National Prevention Program for those at highest risk, which includes dietary changes, coping skills and group support with the goal of having participants lose five to seven percent of their body weight and get at least 150 minutes of exercise weekly.
Whether you are at high risk or not, these numbers are yet another indication that we need to lay off the fast food, eat those veggies, and get our butts off of the couch and work up a sweat. Your health, and your life, depend on it.
You can get more information about the CDC’s diabetes efforts here or contact the American Diabetes Association – they have local chapters that can help point you to community resources, provide advice, and counseling.