Every 90 Minutes a New Yorker Dies of a
Diabetes-Related Illness, You Could be Next!
By Charles Fisher and Randy Fisher @HHSYC
As we approach another long hot summer everyone wants to be in shape to show off those curves. Your Health is your Wealth and if you don’t take of your body the doctors and the county morgue will. The New York City Department of Health released an alarming new report last week showing that every 90 minutes a New Yorker dies of a diabetes-related illness. Deaths from diabetes-related causes reached an all-time high in 2011 and the epidemic is getting worse every year. According to the city’s Department of Health, the number of deaths linked to the chronic illness nearly doubled from 6% in 1990 to 10.8% in 2011. “Obesity rates have been rising for the last 30 years. 5,700 people are dying of diabetes-related causes. That’s the most we’ve ever had. And that means 11% of our deaths in New York City are related to diabetes,” said City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.
The greatest risk factor for diabetes is obesity so as we have an epidemic of obesity, we have an epidemic of diabetes,” Dr. Farley added. The study shows that blacks are being hit the hardest of all racial groups in the city followed by Hispanics, whites and Asians. It also shows diabetes-related mortality rates are more than twice as high in low-income neighborhoods like Brownsville in Brooklyn and Mott Haven in the Bronx.
With this epidemic more than half of adult New Yorkers are overweight (34%) or obese (22%). Data shows that obesity begins early in life: nearly half of all elementary school children and Head Start children are not a healthy weight. In New York City 1 in 5 kindergarten students and 1 in 4 Head Start children is obese. With over 43% of New York City’s elementary school children being obese and/or overweight the city has been forced to adopt new nutritional guidelines which include more fruits and vegetables. Even the Sesame Street Cookie Monster will now include more fruits and vegetables in his diet.
Weight management is one of this country’s greatest problems because the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) has had a detrimental effect on the health of many citizens, especially our youth. Let’s look at some facts:
- Black women have the highest rates of being overweight or obese compared to other groups in the U.S. About 4 out of 5 black women are overweight obese.
- In 2010 blacks were 1.4 times as likely to be obese as Non- Hispanic Whites.
- In 2010, black women were 70% more likely to be obese than Non-Hispanic White women and in 2007-2010 black girls were 80% more likely to be overweight than Non-Hispanic White girls.
- Obese children and teenagers face a slew of potential health problems as they get older including an increased risk of diabetes, heart attacks, cancer, strokes, asthma, high blood pressure, liver and gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, dyslipidemia, osteoarthritis, gynecological problems (abnormal menses and infertility), and depression. As if that weren’t enough, obesity may harm young people’s long-term college and career prospects, too.
- The obesity epidemic is out of control in the black and Hispanic community. Alice Randall’s op-ed in the New York Times would have you believe that black women, who are 60 times more likely to be obese than any other group, “want to be fat” and that they “love their curves” because they show their “wisdom.”
- Increases in obesity affect all population groups regardless of age, income, gender, race, or ethnicity, although not all groups face an equal risk. Obesity increases with age, and is more common among older adults, women, blacks, Hispanics, and the poor.
The CDC and World Health Organization Are Concerned About the Epidemic
The United States spends an estimate of $1.3 billion a year on healthcare, more than any other country, and yet in spite of all of our technology we rank lower in life expectancy than 16 developed nations. Each year 125,000 Americans are killed by drugs that the Food & Drug Administration approved. One fourth of our citizens are routinely prescribed drugs that are inappropriate and perhaps dangerous. In regard to the infinite mortality rate, on a list of 24 industrialized nations the United States is tied with 3 other countries for second to last place.
The World Health Organization has acknowledged that obesity is sweeping the world and is a major public health problem. Of particular concern are the increasing incidents of child obesity. Being overweight or obese during childhood is a health concern in itself, but can also lead to physical and mental health problems in later life such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, back pain, low self-esteem and depression. Obesity is a major problem, in most countries, both developed and developing. This is a major concern for the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) in America and the WHO (World Health Organization) because childhood obesity statistics show that obese children and especially those in the teenage years have a 70% chance of being obese as adults. What is worse is that percentage increases to 80% if either one or both of the parents are obese as well.
The Obama administration is proposing to spend 10 billion dollars over the next 10 years to set nutrition rules for schools that include: providing good prenatal care, support for breastfeeding and good child care centers, empowering parents and caregivers with simple messages about healthy food choices, limiting the marketing of unhealthy products to children, providing healthy food in schools and improving nutrition education, making it easier for everyone to buy healthier food at lower prices, getting children to be more physically active in and after school and improving playgrounds in neighborhoods. Fortunately, obesity is preventable and as obesity rates decrease so will chronic disease and associated mortality. Even modest weight loss of 5%-7% (about 10 pounds) can improve health and decrease disease risk.
Beware of Drugs and Surgery There is no Quick Fix
With obesity at epidemic levels in the United States many people will try extreme and dangerous methods to lose weight. Surgery, drugs and supplements to aid in weight loss may be effective temporarily, but are not a long-term solution. Some can even be dangerous with many side effects, including death. The Food and Drug Administration plays an important role in regulating weight-loss and prescription drugs, dietary supplements and medical treatments to address obesity and is responsible for ensuring that unsafe products are removed from the market. You should talk to a healthcare provider before taking any weight-loss products or starting a diet. Remember your health is your wealth and you can’t get wealthy if you don’t stay healthy.
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