Diabetes is a increasingly frequent disease in the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control currently estimate that one in 10 Americans have diabetes currently. This amounts to 24 million Americans.
Now a new article that was published by the journal Population Health Metrics is estimating that by the year 2050, one in three Americans could be diabetic if the current trends continue.
As most of my readers know, diabetes is a disorder of the body's blood sugar. In diabetes, the body cannot regulate the sugar level and blood sugar levels go up. Long-term elevated sugar levels lead to increasing damage to many organs from the eyes to the kidneys to the nerves. Diabetics often die of one of the complications of this chronically elevated blood sugar.
Overweight is one of the leading causes of diabetes in our country.
When we look at the obesity rates in our country it is easy to understand why diabetes is increasing so rapidly. Over the last 20 years there has been a remarkable increase in obesity in the United States. Last year in 2009 only the District of Columbia and Colorado had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%. 33 states had prevalence of obesity equal to or greater than 25% of their population. In California, where I live for example, the obesity rate is 24.8% of our population. When you combine that number with the number of overweight individuals we get a combined total of 62.6% of Americans who are now either overweight or obese.
Other diseases including high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and even cancer are associated with obesity. In this time, when our healthcare finances are in crisis, it is essential that we pay attention to the increasing number of people who are overweight or obese. It is now known that obesity adds an estimated $147 billion a year in cost to our health care system.
These increasing numbers are directly linked to the "junk food" diet of Americans and the lack of exercise. For example soft drinks make up about 7% of all calories consumed in the United States. In one article from Reuters it was recently proposed that US obesity rates could fall if soda pop prices were to rise. They quote a recent study that raising the price of a can of soda by 35% cut soft drinks sales in the hospital cafeteria by 26%.
I always talk with my patients about optimizing their weight and increasing their exercise. I encourage all of my readers to also eat a healthier diet and exercise more.
If you are interested in knowing what your Body Mass Index (BMI) is you can click this link and put in your height and weight and you will get your BMI. For reference, the definition of overweight is a BMI greater than 25. Obesity is defined as a BMI over 30.
Let me know what you think. What has been your experience with your own weight loss program and your own exercise program? Have you found any motivators to exercise or exercise programs that you especially enjoy? Please let me know so that I may share it with my other readers.