Thursday, March 7, 2013

Tackle Rising Cost of Diabetes in America by Addressing Obesity

COMMENTARY | Diabetes is costing America more money. As reported by, between 2007 and 2012, the cost of diabetes in the United States increased more than 40 percent from $174 billion to $245 billion. And the reason is more people are being diagnosed with diabetes. In fact, the numbers are rising so quickly, by the year 2050 an estimated one in every three Americans will be a diabetic. These findings are part of a new study to be published next month in the journal Diabetes Care.

Wow ... and that's a very expensive wow, mind you.

So what the heck is going on in this country? Why are so many Americans sick with this costly disease? While there are many risk factors for developing diabetes, including age and genetics, the one cause that can and desperately needs to be curbed is obesity.

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says type 2 diabetes most often develops in overweight or obese middle-age and older people. Remember juvenile diabetes? Now it's called type 1 diabetes because too many kids today are overweight and developing the adult form of this chronic disease. And if we don't change our health ways, by 2030 half of the people living in this country will be obese. Information like this should have everyone screaming, "Lose weight, America!"

But we don't. Instead we debate the politics of whether or not the government should mandate healthcare in a free-market society. Critics of the Affordable Care Act say it will end up costing Americans and businesses more money. But what is costing this country more money is apparently our obsession with junk food and lack of exercise. 62 percent of the cost of diabetes care in America is paid for by government insurance (like Medicare.) That's billions of dollars spent just to treat a preventable disease. Talk about government waste (or should I say waist?)

Until we find a cure for diabetes, we will always have people who suffer with this condition. But there is no excuse to see this many people with a preventable disease. In fact, we can't afford any more excuses.

Jennifer Budd is a registered nurse and former broadcast journalist in the NYC/NJ area.

Sources:, Cost of Diabetes Care in America Keeps Climbing, March 6, 2012

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, Causes of diabetes, last updated December 5, 2011

Reuters, Fat and getting fatter: U.S. obesity rates to soar by 2030, September 18, 2012


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