Thursday, December 9, 2010

Less Than 10 Years From Now

Yes, if we’re lucky, we’ll all be older. But there’s more, and this should get your attention . . . less than 10 years from now, you or your spouse will have diabetes. And, for some scary statistics from a recent study by United Health:

  • By 2020, an estimated 52 percent of all Americans will have diabetes.
  • There are 26 million diabetics in the U.S. and another 67 million people considered pre-diabetic.
  • More than 90 percent of those who are pre-diabetic don’t even know it.
  • During the next decade, our national cost of diabetes will increase to a total of $3.35 trillion. Our annual spending will increase from $194 billion a year today to more than $500 billion a year by 2020.
  • Over 80% of people with diabetes are overweight or obese. (CDC)
  • Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. (CDC)

This is a big, ticking time bomb. But the bigger question is . . . why aren’t we defusing it? Why are we just watching it happen?

And, while we’re watching this happen, consider that it doesn’t have to . . .

  • The foods we choose to eat on a daily basis contribute 80 percent to whether we will develop diabetes, heart disease or cancer.
  • Gaining just 11 to 16 pounds doubles the risk of type 2 diabetes, while an increase of 17 to 24 pounds nearly triples this risk.
  • Just a 7 percent weight loss can reduce the risk of progressing from pre-diabetes to diabetes by as much as 58 percent.
  • The American Heart Association says a 5 percent weight loss could reduce pre-diabetes gradually, leading to a 10 percent reduction by 2020, meaning almost 10 million people would not develop pre-diabetes or diabetes during the next 10 years, resulting in $45 billion lower projected costs to our health care system.

We, each one of us, has the ability to turn this epidemic around. Why aren’t we? Have we become immune to the personal and financial costs of chronic disease? Do we still care? So, what are you willing to do?

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