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The Future of Diabetes Care: A Personal Perspective
The enormous problem the U.S. and the rest of the world faces is declining public health. In the U.S. is probably close to half the country or more suffers from diabetes mellitus and prediabetes — this includes chubby kids as well as large adults. All of these people are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke, etc.) as well as blindness, kidney failure, and loss of limb.
The primary goal for public health programs and education is to delay the onset of risk until age becomes the main factor. Most people who are under the age of 25 or so will experience a barrage of these vascular events by the time they are 35-45 years of age, just when they should be maximizing their contribution to society.
For this reason, our country needs to start compulsory programs in pre-school or first grade that deal with daily exercise, proper nutrition, and calorie intake. Supervision should be by a public health officer with police power. It’s that serious. This type of education needs to be carried through the next 12 years until graduation in order to build the foundation for good health habits and practices. In consultation with pediatricians and nutritionists, and especially Certified Diabetes Educators, programs can be developed and delivered so that they parallel the basics of reading, writing and math.
A shift in national culture must evolve or we will be second rate, with an impaired populace to boot. Attitudes such as “nanny care” are seditious when the future of the U.S. is at stake. The emerging shift in medical care will provide for large centers where adults can receive the same care as school-age kids. So much money is spent each year on medical care for conditions that could be prevented through better habits, but we have seen that voluntary changes are often unlikely until it's too late. If we can do in this area what we have done in smoking cessation, we will be on our way to a much healthier population.