In the News
Diabetes and obesity present serious upcoming challenges. If increases in diabetes incidence continue to trend upward, by 2050 one in three Americans could have diabetes, compared with one in 10 adults today, according to estimates published online in Population Health Metrics on October 22, 2010. Obesity also has increased dramatically in the past 30 years, and both conditions are significant risk factors for heart disease. Currently obesity costs U.S. employers $73.1 billion in medical expenses and lost productivity annually, according to the October 2010 issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Compounding the situation, many overweight and obese people perceive themselves as being of normal weight and at low risk for heart disease, according to a research letter in the October 11, 2010, issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. And despite the glut of weight-loss information the public is bombarded with, little of the information regarding nonsurgical treatments is evidence based. One hope-inducing exception appeared in the October 27, 2010, issue of JAMA: in a year-long trial of calorie restriction combined with walking, 130 severely obese patients lost an average of 24 pounds and reduced their insulin resistance, waist circumference, blood pressure, and visceral abdominal fat. The results of this study strengthen the argument that insurance carriers should pay for lifestyle interventions.—Carol Potera