One Third of Americans Are Pre-Diabetic

Aug 28, 2002

Reuters reports that as many as one in three Americans has a condition called insulin resistance syndrome, putting them at high risk of diabetes and heart disease, according to a committee of experts from four top medical organizations. Diet and exercise can take care of the condition in many, if not most, cases, and a few simple tests can tell doctors and patients who is at most risk, the experts says.

Experts from the American College of Endocrinology, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine issued official guidance on how to diagnose the condition. “As the prevalence of insulin resistance syndrome has skyrocketed 61 percent in the last decade, it is crucial that medical professionals have consistent and definitive criteria to assess this serious condition,” Dr. Daniel Einhorn of the Scripps Whittier Institute for Diabetes in La Jolla, Calif., and co-chair of the panel.

Dr. Einhorn says pediatricians report that 7- to 10-year-old children are developing metabolic syndrome, obesity and type 2 diabetes, once seen only in adults. “We never saw this before,” he says. “Pediatricians are having to learn about adult medications.”

Moderator Comment: Should food retailers play a more active role in encouraging consumers to change eating habits that could result in weight gain and associated problems such as diabetes?

The co-chair of the panel, Dr. Einhorn, doesn’t believe
that carbohydrates are to blame for Americans’ weight problems. “It is not any
one thing that’s the culprit. It’s not just the fast food. It’s not just the
pastries. It’s a combination of genetics and the diseases of modern living–obesity
and sedentary living.”

That said, a report published in the September issue
of the American Journal of Public Health by the Children’s Nutritional
Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, says that sweetened
beverages (soft drinks, juice drinks, teas, etc.) represented 51 percent of
the daily liquid consumption of kids participating in the study. Kids that were
heavy users of these beverages consumed 330 calories more each day than those
classified as light users. The study also found that those that drink the most
sweetened drinks eat 62 percent less fruit than kids that were not big drinkers
of sweetened beverages. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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