Dr.G’s Thoughts on Diabetes
Recently, Dr. Benjamin Gonzalez was a featured speaker at the Diabetes Research Foundation fundraiser in Greenbelt, MD on June 7th, 2014. Here is what he said:
“Thank you for inviting me to speak here today. I am honored to be a part of this wonderful event. This is a very important subject that affects everyone in this country. Recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) show nearly 75% of the U.S. population is overweight. Childhood obesity has increased four-fold since 1970. Thirty years ago not one state in this nation had an obesity rate greater than 15% and now EVERY state in the nation has an obesity rate greater than 20%. Over a third of our country now is obese. What is the number one precursor to Diabetes? Being overweight. Diabetes prevalence has risen almost 10 fold since the 1960s. The direct and indirect yearly cost of obesity and diabetes in this country together is nearly $300 billion….annually. This is all expanding globally with Mexico and China exceeding the U.S. in these statistics. Mexico just recently surpassed the U.S. in becoming the #1 Nation in the world in obesity.
All these global statistics are sometimes hard to “bring home” or to truly feel personally affected. Well, let’s get personal. Do you know anyone who is overweight? Obese? Diabetic? Were you ever told by your doctor that your blood sugar was “a little high” and that you should “watch what you eat and we will check it next time?” Forget the U.S. and world statistics. Simply think of one person in your life or even yourself who is overweight or diabetic. Now imagine that person dead 10 years before the average person dies. Sorry…I said I would get personal. One excellent recent 40-year prospective study of 4857 children found that the major predictor for premature death was insulin resistance, not hypertension or high cholesterol (Franks 2010 New Eng J Med. Feb 11;362(6)485. Insulin resistance is the marker of pre-diabetes and diabetes. Insulin resistance is a classic lifestyle acquired condition based on how you eat, drink, think, and live. In other words, it is highly preventable. The most powerful cure for ANY disease and especially diabetes is prevention.
The majority of diabetes in this country is preventable. Look at all the info presented in this Diabetes Research Fundraiser forum. Learn. Feel. Contribute. Finally, live like you truly want to wipe out this disease in this country. I do not want you to focus on treatment of diabetes. I want you to focus on the wholehearted effort of preventing the disease in your life and the life of your friends and family altogether. In one diabetes prevention trial, evidence for the importance of exercise and nutrition became so compelling that it was deemed unethical to deny exercise and good nutrition to the control group and the study was halted (Tuomilheto 2001 Eng J Med. 344(18):1343). Yes, treatment is important and that is an entirely different discussion. Right now, I want you to think about the simple steps, the simple changes you can make in preventing this terrible disease. There is no single pill or surgery that cures diabetes. None. The majority of diabetes in this country IS reversible. My treatments for diabetes begin with ALL my patients whether they have diabetes or not. Simple preventative measures that do not require abstinence or starvation. Diet and nutritional lifestyles are the foundation of my discussions with patients. Live well, live well long.”