Diabetes Will Doom Us if We Don't Quit Being Couch Potatoes


money cost of prescription medicineCertain scenes from Disney flicks you see as a kid can end up haunting you forever. But as scared as I was by Ursula when I saw The Little Mermaid at 6 years old, I saw one of the most terrifying scenes only a couple of years ago, as an adult ... in WALL-E. Pixar's illustration of humanity's future -- basically, we become obese slobs who float around all day sipping Big Gulps and communicating via screens -- terrified me, because sometimes, I feel like there's lots o' proof that we're headed in that direction.

Researchers tend to be on the same page as Pixar. Just in time for World Diabetes Day, they're reporting that less than 20 years from now, 552 million people could have diabetes. Already, 366 million people suffer from either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, but because more people are aging and gorging themselves on high-cal foods and sitting around like couch potatoes, 10 percent of people worldwide could soon be diagnosed with the disease.


I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that most people aren't all that freaked out about diabetes. When reports like this one come out, most of us think we're invincible ... or our lifestyle couldn't possibly be as bad as other people's. Or who cares, we'll cross that bridge if and when we come to it. Yadayada. The threat of diabetes seems to be far less freaky to most of us than top killers like cancer, but that's probably a misjudgment on our parts.

Around 180,000 people in the U.S. die each year due to diabetes, and it costs us a lot too! Medical treatment and productivity losses combined for diabetes, cancer, and heart disease could total $47 trillion through 2030. You don't have to be the leader of a country to realize A LOT of money could be saved if only we prioritized preventative care. And I'm not talking about prescription drugs. We've heard it over and over again, but type 2 diabetes and heart disease can be prevented by simply being more active and eating healthier. Most Americans could stand to really commit to those things (and not just for a couple of weeks in January)!

But staving off diabetes also has to be a team effort. What I mean is ... the government could do more to make healthy food more affordable. Health insurers must reward, instead of punish us for doing things that can preempt disease, like seeing a naturopathic physician or even just signing up at a yoga studio. (After all, it'll save them more money in the long-haul!) 

The bottom line: It's time we all got the wake-up call that diabetes is a real threat looming in our future, and we're at a turning point now. We can either fight back or fall even further down the rabbit hole.

Do you think people consider diabetes a real health threat?


Image via Images Money/Flickr

general health, obesity, aging


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cocob... cocobeannns

Obviously, no, people do not. The numbers don't lie. It's a real, life threating disease that can take you in an instant. And it's a preventable one at that.

Texas... TexasRose82

Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.

Fact:  Being overweight is a risk factor for developing this disease, but other risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age also play a role. Unfortunately, too many people disregard the other risk factors for diabetes and think that weight is the only risk factor for type 2 diabetes.  Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight. 

nonmember avatar citykitty76

I agree with the above post. I'm a type 2 diabetic and have never been overweight, had high blood pressure/cholesterol etc. and I got diagnosed at 32. Scary yes but this disease doesn't only target the obese and unhealthy. What about juvenile diabetes? Those poor young children are born with it. I think people need to educate themselves more before posting things like this. I'm so tired of reading article after article stating that diabetes is only associated with obesity. What about the rest of us who have only lived a healthy lifestyle and end up with it anyway.

nonmember avatar westcoastgal

I agree with a few other posters ... diabetes isn't as cut and dried as mentioned in the article. My 6 year old son has been type 1 for just over a year. I can guarantee he is skinny, active kid and loves his veggies. I realize that type 2 was specified in the article however most people don't know the difference and a lot of myths and rude comments are out there.
Type 1 - Juvenile Diabetes is an auto-immune disease with a genetic component.

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