A recent study sponsored by the United Health Foundation indicated that 40 percent (2 of every 5) of those living in the United States may be obese by 2018.
A recent study sponsored by the United Health Foundation indicated that 40 percent (2 of every 5) of those living in the United States may be obese by 2018. This staggering statistic should serve as a wake-up call to us as individuals but also as a society, since we all bear the cost of the medical care that will be provided as a result of this trend.
The $8,000 annual cost of caring for an obese person is expected to consume roughly 21 percent of all the health care spending in the United States. Obesity is a key driver of myriad chronic illnesses, including diabetes, a disorder of the metabolism that often presents itself with symptoms that include excessive thirst and urination.
Diabetes occurs when the pancreas doesn't make enough or any of the hormone insulin, or when the insulin produced doesn't work effectively. Insulin enables the body’s cells to absorb glucose, an organic compound that provides vital energy for the body to move, grow and repair itself. Diabetics have a glucose level in the blood that is too high and the result can often be lethargy, weakness and the onset of many other medical conditions. According to The American Diabetes Association, 1.9 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in people 20 and older in 2010.
There are different types of diabetes, including type 1 diabetes, where the body produces little or no insulin, and type 2 diabetes where the body is resistant to insulin. There is also gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy and is often a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
In type 2 diabetes, there is a definitive link between diet, lifestyle and the disease. Some might say that as a society, we have lost focus on what is important in life: health. For example, take a look at physical education in our schools. A little more than half of students nationwide are enrolled in a physical education class, and by high school, only a third take gym class daily, according to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. Fast food and the “supersize” or “value meal” option has become a rite of passage for busy families with modest income. Soda and other sugary beverages, which contain many tablespoons of sugar, have become the go-to drink instead of water.
Why are so many Americans obese, and what can be done to prevent it? According to the Obesity Society, someone who is approximately 30 pounds overweight is considered to be obese. Although some cases of obesity are attributable to other health issues, many cases can in fact be prevented with education and a commitment to change. Adults have a responsibility to educate themselves and their children about the dangers of becoming obese. But even more important, they have a responsibility to make lifestyle decisions that reduce the likelihood of chronic disease.
It’s crucial to maintain a diet abundant in fruits, vegetables and fibers, while minimizing the sugars and white flour that plague so many of our foods. Reducing white flour and sugar from the diet will stabilize blood sugar levels, leading to lower weight and sharper thinking. An overall lack of exercise and a diet high in white flour and simple sugars may lead to blood sugar irregularities, which can then lead to diabetes.
Supplements can also be recommended in conjunction with a healthy diet to promote healthy weight management. One such supplement, Cinnamon Force, helps regulate blood sugar and can be used to regulate levels by taking two capsules each day. The product is safe and very effective in the early stages of insulin resistance and high blood sugar.
Diabetes is a serious disease that can affect many vital body functions. It can damage eyes, heart and blood vessels, kidneys, nerves, teeth and gums. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to heart attack, stroke, infections, blindness, and kidney failure. It can also lead to nerve damage as well as skin sores and infection that can lead to amputation.
Like most other diseases, heredity is a major indicator of diabetes. If both parents have Type 2 diabetes it increases the chances that the children will have diabetes.
Some readers may remember the old motor oil advertising slogan, “you can pay me now … or pay me later,” which reminded motorists that performing routine maintenance was far less costly than rebuilding an engine down the road. The same, of course, is true for our bodies. Getting into a healthy routine and eating well will prevent so many of the medical problems that people dread. Pay yourself now instead of paying your health providers later.
Steve Bernardi is a compounding pharmacist and Dr. Gary Kracoff is a registered pharmacist and a naturopathic doctor at Johnson Compounding and Wellness Center in Waltham, Mass. (www.naturalcompounder.com) Readers with questions about natural or homeopathic medicine, compounded medications, or health in general can email email@example.com or call 781-893-3870.