Empowerment is what counts for both patients and their doctors when it comes to diabetes prevention. At the Quarterly Meeting of the P2 Collaborative of Western New York on Friday, September 13, David Marrero, PhD, gave the audience a healthy dose of what it takes to beat the odds in diabetes. Marrero is the Director of the Diabetes Translational Research Center at Indiana University.
He was introduced by Shelly Hirshberg, Executive Director of the P2 Collaborative. The Collaborative is a regional resource for facilitating health in New York State communities.
Almost 9% of the population has diabetes, according to Marrero, and 35% has pre-diabetes. The statistics go from startling to more startling. Women with a BMI greater than 35 have 93 times the risk of developing diabetes than those with a BMI less than 21. But even in a room of over 100 health educators and practitioners, when Marrero asked how many had been to a fast food restaurant in the last week, a number of hands went up.
The good news by the numbers? Losing only about seven pounds nets a 51% risk reduction. Lifestyle intervention is more effective than medication, and it is long lasting. Marrero noted that from four to fourteen years after lifestyle interventions end, their effects are still there.
Human history sends its own message on this, he said. Genes take a long time to change, and people are wired for a high consumption of fats. Because in the days of hunting the mammoth for food and migrating to find survival needs, it was feast or famine, feasting had its rewards.
The thing is, deep-fried butter, served even at State Fairs, and a current fad, doughnut burgers, aren’t on the menu for diabetes prevention. Besides, Marrero pointed out, how we manage the environment sometimes doesn’t help either, because the current culture celebrates doing more with less physical activity.
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Linda Chalmer Zemel teaches in the Communication Department at SUNY Buffalo State College. She writes frequently about the impact of social and cultural conditions on community health.
Contact Linda at email@example.com