According to the Mayo Clinic, diabetes is a disease or group of diseases that affect how one's body uses blood glucose. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that diabetes rates more than tripled between 1980 and 2010.
More than one-third of U.S. adults are obese. Obesity is one of the leading causes for diabetes; nearly 30 percent of diabetes cases can be attributed to obesity. Adults are not the only ones at risk for developing diabetes, as children are also at risk. According to Roni Caryn Rabin of the New York Times, "nearly one in four American adolescents may be on the verge of developing Type 2 diabetes or could already be diabetic." Since disease develops more rapidly in children it is also more difficult to treat.
Dan Hurley, a freelance medical journalist, explored other ideas that could be contributing factors to the rising level of diabetes in today's society. The possibilities he presents are reflections of modern-day lifestyle. Children are growing too quickly. Since growing puts stress on a body, children who grow faster and are bigger are more likely to develop Type 1 diabetes than smaller children. Hurley argues that vitamin D levels affect those who suffer from Type 1 diabetes. He claims people that live in the North are much more likely to develop diabetes than those that live closer to the equator with constant sun exposure. Hurley’s other hypotheses include the following ideas: our environment has become too clean and we lack exposure to different germs that help us fight diseases like diabetes; exposing infants to formula including cow’s milk might keep the immune system from developing properly leading to the onset of diabetes for babies genetically susceptible. Lastly, he argues that long term exposure to pollution can increase the possibility of contracting Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
According to the CDC’s statistics, diabetes is in the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States. Their studies showed that those who increased their physical activity and lost weight reduced the development of Type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.