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Important Diabetes Article in New York Times

Posted Dec 18 2008 8:13pm

Today, The New York Times ran a must-read article about the horrifying epidemic of diabetes. Actually, this piece just breaks your heart because of writer N. R. Kleinfield's ability to convey the impact of this devasting disease.

Here are a few snippets from the article:

"An estimated 800,000 adult New Yorkers - more than one in every eight - now have diabetes, and city health officials describe the problem as a bona fideepidemic. Diabetes is the only major disease in the city that is growing, both in the number of new cases and the number of people it kills. And it is growing quickly, even as other scourges likeheart diseaseand cancers are stable or in decline.

"Already, diabetes has swept through families, entire neighborhoods in the Bronx and broad slices of Brooklyn, where it is such a fact of life that people describe it casually, almost co mfortably, as "getting the sugar" or having "the sweet blood."

"...Either we fall apart or we stop this," said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

"Yet he and other public health officials acknowledge that their ability to slow the disease is limited. Type 2 can often be postponed and possibly prevented by eating less and exercising more. But getting millions of people to change their behavior, he said, will require some kind of national crusade."

One of the article's most tragic statements is the that "among Americans who know they have the disease, about two-thirds are not doing enough to treat it."

That is what continues to agonize me.

But, in large part, people -- especially kids -- either don't know what exactly how to eat or they're simply so swamped by advertising messages to eat nutrition-lacking sugary, quickie-carb crap that it's hard for them to make a good dietary choice.

And now we come to one of the most insightful comments of the Times article:

"I will go out on a limb," said Dr. Frieden, the health commissioner, "and say, 20 years from now people will look back and say: 'What were they thinking? They're in the middle of an epidemic and kids are watching 20,000 hours of commercials for junk food.' "

Let's face it, folks: Our lives seem to be up for grabs. It's the bottom line that drives major corporations, not our health. How sad.

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