While we were all chowing down on mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie this weekend, the University of Chicago released a new study about the rise of Diabetes in America. Get a load of this:
2009 - 23.7 Million people in America have Diabetes 2034- 44.1 Million people in America are projected to have Diabetes according to this study.
It is no surprise that with the prediction that the number of cases of Diabetes will nearly double, comes the prediction that spending on Diabetes care will also increase. The study estimates that by 2034, spending on Diabetes care will TRIPLE to about $336 Billion.
Meanwhile, the United States Senate returns from their Thanksgiving recess to debate the greatly anticipated Health Care Bill. Of course, the financial aspects of the bill are of great concern to all parties - how much will it cost in the short term? How much will it save us down the road? Can we afford to wait any longer?
Well, I sure hope those Senators caught CNN's story about this University of Chicago study. Here is a great quote. Really, my favorite:
"It is estimated that if we could control diabetes we could save $217 Million dollars PER YEAR in health care costs."
And here is another one.
"What do we have to do to slow this increase in Diabetes cost and prevalence?" the News Anchor asks the reporter.
The reporter replies, "You know, there is nothing mysterious here. We're talking diet and exercise."
Now, I have proudly watched my mom get her pre-Diabetes condition turned around with some healthy diet and lifestyle changes in the last year. It wasn't easy, but she's doing it, so I know that it is possible! [Click here to read a previous post in which my mom wrote in about this experience.]
The big thing here is that if we are really going to ask people to do their part to help save our health care system (not to mention our economy and our planet) by changing their habits to avoid diabetes, we need to make it a bit easier on them.
- Money: Good healthy food needs to be affordable. Maybe we could shift some of the federal subsidies from corn and soy and big farm production to make fresh local produce more affordable for a change?
- Knowledge: People need to learn about health, food and cooking from informed and objective sources, not food advertisements. Maybe we could education people about nutrition in school so that they can make empowered decisions at the grocery store or (better yet) Farmers' Market?
- Support: Healthy habits and life style changes must be rewarded and supported in our communities and our work places. What if you got an extra 15 minutes for your lunch break if you used that time to take a brisk walk outside? What if you saved money on your health care co-pays if you lost weight or got control of your Diabetes?