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As obesity skyrockets, Joslin Diabetes Center urges action to stem the tide of type 2 diabetes

BOSTON As reported yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 129.6 million Americans, or 64 percent of the population, are overweight or obese. As obesity in America has become an epidemic over the past decade, the rate of type 2 diabetes, which is closely linked to obesity, has skyrocketed. It is estimated that 18.2 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, and over 90 percent of those have type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, the percentage of adults with diabetes increased 65 percent from 1990 to 2001.

"Statistically, adults in the U.S. have gained 2 billion pounds over the past decade, which is an average of one pound per year per person. This is true for both men and women," says C. Ronald Kahn, M.D., President and Director, Joslin Diabetes Center. "For every one pound increase in weight, there is a 3 to 4 percent increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, or about 800,000 new cases. We urge individual Americans to take steps to reduce their own risk of diabetes, but I also believe prevention must be a priority for the healthcare industry, the food industry and the government."

The issue for individual Americans, Dr. Kahn says, is not whether a low fat diet is better than a low carbohydrate diet or vice versa. "It boils down to how much we eat and how active we are," he says.

"While research at Joslin and elsewhere has shown that genetics and metabolic factors play a key role in body weight, we know that Americans' expanding waistlines can be tightened with at least two simple changes portion control and increased physical activity. No matter what diet regimen you advocate, a calorie is a calorie," Dr. Kahn says. "The overall caloric intake in the U.S. is simply too high. Americans are eating too much. If you regularly eat more calories than you burn, you will become overweight."

The good news is that that research at Joslin and elsewhere showed that losing modest amou
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Contact: Marjorie Dwyer
marjorie.dwyer@joslin.harvard.edu
617-732-2415
Joslin Diabetes Center
10-Mar-2004


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