Solving the Diabetes Epidemic with Good Family Nutrition
A 2010 report from the CDC declared that the incidence of diabetes in America would double or triple by the year 2050. A decade earlier, the CDC estimated that at least one-third of the children born in 2000 was destined to be diabetic as an adult unless American families made lifestyle changes relating to nutrition and exercise. The story has not changed because it is absolutely true.
UCLA released the results of a study earlier this year (2016) that indicate some 46% of California adults are either diabetic or pre-diabetic. Approximately 33% of them are between the ages of 18 and 39, giving credence to the CDC prediction at the turn of the 21st century. What most people do not realize is that upwards of 90% of children diagnosed as diabetic are suffering from type II diabetes – a form of diabetes that is almost always the result of diet and exercise (or lack thereof).
Type I diabetes is a genetic disease that interferes with the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin. That’s why it is known as “insulin-dependent” diabetes. Type II diabetes, also known as “non-insulin-dependent” or “diabetes mellitus,” is not genetic. It is brought on by the combination of excessive body weight, insufficient exercise, and poor dietary choices.
What does this tell us? That solving the diabetes epidemic now sweeping across America is a matter of reestablishing good family nutrition and exercise habits. As moms and dads used to say in generations past: eat your vegetables before you go out to play.
Dangers of Busyness and Convenience
I remember a few years ago that there was some pretty significant public backlash about the idea that American families should strive to return to the days of Leave it to Beaver and Ozzy and Harriet Nelson. Those who espoused a more traditional American lifestyle were ridiculed as being out of touch with the modern world. Still, the traditionalists do have a valid point.
We live in an era of extreme busyness that keeps us on the go every waking hour of the day. This same era enables busyness by providing us with an extensive list of modern conveniences that no longer require us to put a lot of effort into the kinds of things our parents and grandparents spent their time on. Cooking is a great example.
We are too busy to develop nutritionally balanced menus supported by cooking in our kitchens every evening. Yet we do not starve because of the conveniences of fast food, takeout meals from the grocery store, microwave products, and a list of processed foods longer than the longest arm. This combination of busyness and convenience has led most American households to adopt very poor nutritional habits that significantly increase the risks of type II diabetes.
In our busyness, we also fail to make sure we and our children get a decent amount of exercise. While we are off pursuing whatever is so busy, our kids are spending their days in front of video games or mobile phones playing, engaging social media, texting, and eating junk food. This is a perfect recipe for a diabetes epidemic.
Getting a handle on the diabetes problem does not require pharmaceutical companies to manufacture
more drugs. It doesn’t even require significant medical intervention by the family doctor. We can solve the diabetes epidemic at home the same way we created it: by changing lifestyle choices. The place to start is good nutrition combined with regular exercise. If we are willing to do that, we can quickly reverse the diabetes epidemic.