"However," Dr. Kahn continued, "I believe we can accelerate our efforts to decrease obesity and type 2 diabetes if the government, the food industry and the health care industry partner for prevention."
Dr. Kahn applauds the federal government for making its obesity campaign a priority. But much more can be done. "More restaurants both fast food and fancy food -- should re-examine their offerings as McDonald's did last week when it announced plans to eliminate its supersized offerings. The food industry needs to boost its efforts to clearly label nutrition facts and cut marketing of unhealthy, high calorie snacks to kids. Too often are consumers fooled by foods that look healthy but are excessively calorically dense, like mixtures of yogurt and fruit whips, or by misleading caloric information, like reporting calories on a giant cookie snack assuming the portion eaten will be only one quarter of the cookie. And the health care and health insurance industries must not only increase study of the fundamental mechanisms of obesity and diabetes, but also the focus on public education," he said.
"These efforts will also go a long way to curbing the increasing incidence of obesity in children that is contributing to the increasing rate of type 2 diabetes in young people," Dr. Kahn says.
Childhood obesity has tripled since the 1970s. It is now estimated that 15 percent of children and adolescents in America (9 million) are either overweight or obese. "This is truly a time bomb for further fueling the epidemic of type 2 diabetes. And we must remember that people with diabetes are at risk for serious long-term complications, including heart disease, blindness, kidney disease and amputations," he adds.