I first learned the term “diabesity” from my mentor, Dr. Robert Atkins, years ago. And I still use the term today—more often than not, unfortunately.
It describes the twin epidemics of type 2 diabetes and obesity… which have rocketed alongside one another for a reason. In fact, these two conditions are so tightly linked that even the powers-that-be can’t deny it any longer.
But if we don’t do something to stop this runaway train now, I shudder to think where we’ll be in another decade. Because as the latest statistics show, we’re already in very deep trouble…
A runaway train
Using data from 4,200 American adults participating in the MESA study from the years 2000 to 2017, researchers arrived at a disturbing but predictable conclusion: Obesity raises the risk of developing diabetes by a staggering 270 percent.
But that’s just the beginning of the bad news.
The researchers then used this estimate to identify trends according to American obesity rates (as reported through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES).
By the numbers, they found that 41 percent of new diabetes cases diagnosed among American adults between 2013 and 2016 were attributable to obesity—a pretty horrifying statistic, when you consider that obesity is 100 percent avoidable. But the sad truth is, many people just don’t care.
As it stands, Americans have decided that they’re happy to sacrifice a limb or their eyesight for a donut. (Obesity and diabetes are the leading causes of amputation and blindness in the U.S.) And that they would rather get cancer than give up cupcakes. (Sugar is a prime culprit behind more than a dozen different cancers.)
I could go on with examples all day long here. It’s crystal clear that our lack of concern toward the rising threat of obesity has lulled too many Americans into a false sense of security, leading them to believe that diabetes just isn’t a big deal.
The time for change is now
Let’s not mince words here: When you don’t make smart dietary choices and rarely exercise self-control, your health (and your waistline) will suffer. And the idea that a pill or injection will rescue you from a lifetime of bad choices is just plain wrong, for so many reasons. (Not least of all because of the tremendous burden it places on our healthcare system.)
And guess who pays for all of that—literally and figuratively? Each and every one of us, that’s who. Especially now, with diabesity being the biggest risk factor for severe COVID-19 illness and death.
In other words, it’s way past time we started focusing on public health efforts to decrease obesity rates. And that includes supporting weight-loss goals—whether it’s making fresh food more accessible, pushing for more exercise, or developing community weight loss programs.
Of course, if you ask me, the very first step should be agreeing on exactly what people should and shouldn’t be eating, once and for all. Because until we come to a real consensus and stop letting a confusing set of USDA-dictated guidelines run the show, I just don’t see any way out of this situation. (You can learn more about why I don’t recommend following the USDA’s guidelines in last month’s issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter [“The latest Dietary Guidelines expose the USDA’s biggest bedfellow”]. Not yet a subscriber? Click here now!)
At the end of the day, we have eaten our way into this disaster, and we can (and must) eat our way out of it.
That begins and ends with consistent messaging from the powers–that–be. (We’ll all be healthier and wealthier for it.)
But it also requires you to consistently follow whichever diet and exercise program works for you. And as I’m always telling you, eating well and exercising regularly can be delicious and fun.
You can start by picking up a copy of my A-List Diet—where you’ll learn more about nutrition basics, alongside dozens of healthy, easy-to-follow recipes. And then, find an activity you enjoy that gets you moving each day—like walking around the block or yard after dinner or even joining an online gym class.
“Obesity Pegged as Diabetes Cause in Almost Half of US Cases.” Medscape Medical News, 02/18/21. (medscape.com/viewarticle/946041)