Diabetes and Obesity: Emerging Pandemics of the 21st Century

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Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and obesity are both emerging pandemics in the 21st century. One consequence of obesity is an increased risk of developing T2DM. One’s relative risk of T2DM increases as his/her body mass index (BMI) increases above 23. T2DM is the most common disease among the U.S. population, accounting for approximately 90% of such cases, usually diagnosed in adulthood, and in most cases as a result of overweight or obesity. T2DM involves a combination of insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency and may not require treatment with external insulin, especially at early stages (Fowler, 2007). Consequently, the goal of treatment is to achieve strict control of blood sugar (glucose) levels. The extent to which etiological …show more content…
One study found that weight gain in early adulthood was a strong predictor of earlier onset of T2DM than weight gain between 40 and 55 years of age (Ni Mhurchu, Parag, Nakamura, Patel, Rodgers, & Lam, 2006). Data of prospective studies in non-diabetic overweight adults reported similar findings between yearly increase in body weight and higher rates of prevalence of T2DM (Resnick, Valsania, Halter, & Lin, 2000).
Data of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) indicate that the prevalence of diabetes increased with age in both men and women across all ethnic groups. Peak prevalence of diabetes in men (20.2%) and women (17.8%) occurred in the age group 60-74 (Alexander, Landsman, Teutsch, & Haffner, 2003). Although the association between type T2DM and age was similar in African Americans and Whites, the prevalence of T2DM was quite different between these two groups. In fact, the occurrence of T2DM varies dramatically among different ethnic groups (Alexander et al., 2003). In the United States, T2DM is approximately twice as common in African Americans and Hispanics as in non-Hispanic Whites. Although difference in the rates of obesity and other known risk factors of T2DM can explain part of the ethnic differences, a significant portion of this difference remains unexplained (groups (Alexander et al., 2003).
Lower socioeconomic status and poorer dietary habits are both

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