Diabetes and the CDC

The following quote comes to us from the CDC (Center For Disease Control).

"Chronic diseases – such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis – are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems in the U.S."

What do you folks think about that ? I especially disagree with our being able to PREVENT our diabetes, and some of the other diseases too.


I looked it up last year and was stunned to learn how much more expensiive diabetes was than cancer. I figured w/ all the p/r and the cost of chemo, cancer would have been way more expensive but it wasn’t even close.

The CDC is guilty of over simplification. A number of us could not have prevented diabetes by the modifications mentioned. Of course, each of the diseases mentioned are families of different diseases with different causes. Also, the data presented is statistical data that may be applicable to a large group of people, but do not explain or determine what diseases an individual will have. An individual could make the lifestyle modifications mentioned and still get one of these dreaded diseases.

What part are you disagreeing with? Let me guess, the “preventable”?

I could’ve prevented my T1 diabetes by, say, getting hit by a car when I was 13. Ever read “A Modest Proposal”? That could work for prevention too.

Cost, I don’t debate that at all. I’m sure my diabetes will end up costing millions of dollars over the most of a century I plan on having it :-). If I live to be 114, I can get the first Joslin 100-year medal, or are you gonna beat me to it, Richard?

My FF (favorite female) has a BMI of less than 22. Never smoked and will only have a drink if I serve. Never ate at McDonalds or equivalent . Her last A1c was 6.0 worst that yours Richard and well on her way to diabetes. How do we prevent ?

The only thing that is bad she is a poor sleeper. She has a separate bed and I try to lure the dog out by whispering “Mickey cookie” and he sleeps with me.

Yep, Tim, it was the preventable part that did not strike my fancy.

Tim, I will be eligible for my 100 year medal when I am 106, and that will be in 2045. If William Rounds gets one, he will be only 100, in the year 2023.

Arg. I assume they are referring to T2 since there is a large correlation between weight, diet, and T2. (I know that it is largely genetic too, and that many people of normal weight who eat healthily get T2 as well…CDC disregards this.)

But even if T2 may be preventable in some people, T1 is never preventable! As Tim says, the only way I could have prevented mine was if I had gotten myself hit by a car when I was 9 years old. I hate how people (and a government agency!) glosses over information. To imply that we got diseases because we just didn’t feel like taking care of ourselves is just…frustrating.

And RA (rheumatoid arthritis) is an autoimmune disease, also. Have they figured out how to prevent RA?

Typical oversimplification, just like Paul said.

Yes, CDC and others need to qualify , however a lot of truth is said , if you care to read between the lines .
Folks are smoking more , folks are doing less movement , folks have more food on their plates and make different choices than 50 years ago , folks are drinking more …anymore one can think off ?
PS …I promised not to blame my Mom for getting breast cancer in 1984 !!

Agree with you & strongly disagree with the CDC statement. More perpetuating of the myth that people are responsible for chronic diseases. Infuriating.

OK, this kinda blew me away, but I just saw a british television program, interviewing a nutritional doctor, and he said that people in Western countries actually ate 800 MORE calories per day in the 1970’s. That is, we’re eating LESS and still gaining weight.

He said that this is due to a more sedentary lifestyle; that (in general) we’ve got to move more, not eat less.

The changes include: far fewer blue-collar, labor-intensive jobs and more white-collar jobs. Less social exercise (e.g. dancing at discos.) Less walking to work. More driving. More sitting at the computer and MUCH more time vegging in front of the television. More video games. Less bowling teams, team sports, bike riding, heavy housework, walking to the shops, beating rugs, gardening, walking around the golf course or the zoo, less hiking and skiing, etc. More labor-saving devices: automatic bread makers instead of hand kneading, Roombas instead of carpet sweepers, automated car washes instead of crawling about with a hose and sponges, food processors instead of grating and whisking by hand, nail guns instead of hammering, roto-tilling instead of hand turning soil in the spring, weed spray instead of hand weeding, etc. etc. etc.


If you want to get REALLY infuriated, talk to someone who believes that we CHOSE our parents and so, if we have a genetic disease, it’s because we WANTED a genetic disease.

Fool-proof way to arm oneself against normal human compassion: blame the victim before they were even born.

We’re eating less and still gaining weight because about 30 years ago governments started promoting low-fat high-carb…

Amen to that, Lila, & they still are. More carbs, better living through the food pyramid, & less physical activity is an unhealthy combination.

So while it is unfortunate that the CDC makes these statements, they are just echoing the statments of others. If you look in their detailed prevention report, here is the source of their statements about prevention:

The World Health Organization has estimated that if the major risk factors for chronic disease were eliminated, at least 80% of all heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes would be prevented, and more than 40% of cancer cases would be prevented. [31]

Lifestyle changes in diet and exercise, including a 5%–7% maintained weight loss and at least 150 minutes per week in physical activity, can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes for Americans at high risk for the disease. [53]

[31] World Health Organization. Preventing chronic diseases: a vital investment. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2005. Available from: http://www.who.int/chp/chronic_disease_report/full_report.pdf
[53] Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. Reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes with lifestyle interventions or metformin. New England Journal of Medicine 2002;346:393–403.

Those are the basis for their "prevention" claim. So let's look into them. The second [53] is the famous DPP (Look Ahead) which found that for "pre-diabetic" patients, changes in diet and lifestyle could result in fewer patients being diagnosed as full blown diabetics down the road. I've talked about this before, this is a stupid and misleading result. There is nothing to suggest that delaying disease progression has anything to do with "prevention."

Now the second is more difficult to look at. It comes from the report "Preventing CHRONIC DISEASES a vital investment," which is mostly a light fluff piece, but makes the claim:

80% Of Premature Heart Disease, Stroke And Diabetes Can Be Prevented

This claim is not substantiated by any source and appears to be a misapplication of causality. Identifiable "risk" heart disease, stroke and diabetes is associated with a number of factors, like smoking and weight. Unfortunately, it is a logical error to think that association implies causality. A key supporting document of this report is "Comparative quantification of health risks: global and regional bu..." which states:

It is important to emphasize that risk assessment, as defined above, is distinct from intervention analysis, whose purpose is to estimate the benefits of a given intervention or group of interventions in a specific population and at a specific time.

Unfortunately, the WHO cannot properly interpret it's own studies and reports and has confused risk with causality yet again.

So, for those that have made it this far, let me summarize the data supporting the idea that diabetes is preventable.


I have a hospital appointment this afternoon. At the age of 41 I have either retinal detachment, vitreous detachment or a major floater. Am hoping for something not serious. But realise that whatever it is, they will tell me I got it because… Only I didn’t - I don’t do bungee jumping, headbanging etc. I am rather shortsighted and I’m sure that’s the cause, but I’ll bet they will tell me that I caused that too.

So far I’ve got Type 1 diabetes (generally regarded as preventable but of course isn’t), melanoma (have always protected myself in the sun), and a painful bunion (despite always wearing sensible shoes), sometimes you can’t win.

Well I can tell the CDC how to instantly eliminate my risk factors - to have had my grandparents on both sides sterilized at birth!

Ah…I don’t understand how someone can believe that we chose our parents…?

Ditto that.

I was watching the British show “Supersizers” and after one episode – when the man had eaten a diet MUCH higher in fat and protein, but lower in carbs – mostly meat, really – his cholesterol had gone DOWN and he’d lost a bit of weight.

The doctor was stymied and I just laughed. Dr. Atkins talked about this years ago.

BSC, thanks so much for putting that message together! I enjoyed it, even though you went to all that work for nothing = “ZERO”! Lol!