Putting out Forrest fires

Here we go again. Another day, another celebrity with a health crisis.

A huge portion of today’s stars are part of the baby boomer generation. So it’s about the time we can expect them to start dealing with regular health problems and not just ones that require rehab. (All due respect to Lindsay Lohan.)

But this latest announcement really caught my attention. For all the wrong reasons.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad that Tom Hanks came out and announced his type 2 diabetes. But I can’t really applaud his performance this time.

His cavalier announcement that he had high blood sugar for the past 20 (yes, twenty) years–and that his doctor recently told him that he crossed the line into diabetes–left me flabbergasted.

And more than a little bit mad, too.

For one thing, why wasn’t his doctor more adamant about urging Hanks to prevent this disease? Rather than just sitting around and waiting for it to happen so she could turn around and put him on medication?

You want to know why? Because that is all many doctors know how to do. And so that is what is expected.

Modern medicine has completely forgotten how to prevent illness. We just sit on our hands and let it happen. And then, lo and behold! We have a pill or an operation that can “fix” your problem…for a hefty bill.

Never mind that lifestyle changes like weight loss can beat back diabetes before it takes hold. (And for free, I might add.)

Instead, we have medical “experts” making excuses, saying that Tom Hanks’ wasn’t “particularly overweight.” But what does that even mean? You’re either overweight or not. Being overweight increases your risk for diabetes. There is no question about that.

Given the issues he had been struggling with for decades, Mr. Hanks should have made staying fit priority No. 1.

Even if he couldn’t “get back to his high school weight” like his doctor suggested, there are plenty of other things he could have done to boost his odds against this disease.

Hanks is one of those very fortunate individuals who, with the right guidance, could have launched an all-out war on diabetes. Not that we all can’t. But let’s face it–when you have as much money as he does, some things are just easier to accomplish.

He could have hired a personal chef, for starters. (Chances are he has one already.) All he’d have to do is hand over a copy of my New Hamptons Health Miracle–or any other diet that emphasizes lean proteins, healthy fats, and a whole lot of vegetables.

Did he do this? I’m not Mr. Hanks’ doctor, so I couldn’t tell you. But given his current condition, I think it’s fair to say that he probably didn’t.

And you know what? There’s simply no good reason for that.

There’s no reason these infinitely manageable lifestyle changes shouldn’t have occurred. Other than the fact that Mr. Hanks’ doctor probably didn’t know much about the curative and preventative power of food. She seemed to at least partially understand that losing weight would help. But true to form in today’s mainstream medical world, she offered absolutely no guidance on how to achieve safe, lasting, realistic weight loss.

And if his own doctor didn’t know how to help him, how can you expect an actor to know such things. I mean, we pay him to entertain us–not to dole out medical advice.

That’s what doctors are for. And if you ask me, it’s the most disheartening part of this story.

The CDC estimates that 26 million people in the U.S. have diabetes today–around 7 million of whom don’t even know it. Meanwhile, about 79 million people have prediabetes. Just like Tom Hanks did some 20 years ago.

That’s a lot of people and a lot of disease. Most of which is entirely preventable. My readers know this. We just need to keep spreading the word.

Because as much as we all love Forrest Gump, life really shouldn’t be a box of chocolates.

France, Lisa Respers. “Tom Hanks has type 2 diabetes.” CNN. 08 Oct. 2013.