November 16, 2005

HEARTY, HEALTHY AND HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Guest opinion submitted by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo

HEARTY, HEALTHY AND HAPPY THANKSGIVINGGuest opinion submitted by Idaho Senator Mike CrapoThanksgiving is just around the cornerâ??for many, a time of family, friends and food. Every family has its own special blend of dishes, as diverse as our proud American heritage. As we prepare for and enjoy our Thanksgiving dinners or provide for those less fortunate, itâ??s also a good time to think about our health as November is National Diabetes Awareness Month.Type 2 Diabetes accounts for 90-95 percent of diagnosed diabetes, associated with aging, obesity, family history, impairments in the bodyâ??s ability to metabolize glucose, physical inactivity and race/ethnicity. For every $10 spent on healthcare, $1 goes to treat diabetes or complications arising from diabetes.In Idaho: -The incidence of diabetes has doubled in the past decade.-63,000 (6.2%) adults have diabetes.-27,000 adults are undiagnosed.-16% of people 65 years and older have diagnosed diabetes.-The estimated direct medical cost in 2003, ranges from $466-677 million.- Native Americans and Hispanic/Latinos suffer disproportionate rates as population groups.These numbers are alarming. Many of you already know how important early prevention and screening for cancer and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and the same holds true for diabetes. Vast financial resources expended for treatment and care of diabetes and related problems are only part of the picture; the heartache of seeing a loved one suffer kidney disease, adult-onset blindness, leg amputations, heart disease or strokes takes an emotional toll, too. Children are of particular concern. According to the American Diabetes Association, a staggering one in three children born in 2000 will get diabetes in their lifetime; for minorities, the incidence rises to 50 percent. Something has to change. While we cannot control risk factors like aging and heredity, we can make lifestyle choices that reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes or delay the onset. Diabetes can be controlled and, in some cases, prevented, but it requires a lifetime commitment.Diet and exercise are the best ways to combat diabetes, starting with kids. Earlier this fall, Congress included Idaho in the School Fruit and Vegetable Program which places domestically-grown fruits and vegetables in schools to teach students about healthy eating choices and diet-related chronic diseases.And what better time than Thanksgiving to remember the benefits of meals with your family! Studies show that children who eat dinner with their families are less likely to get involved in substance abuse, less likely to be depressed or commit suicide and perform better in school. Additionally, while eating out is fun and sometimes necessary, itâ??s best enjoyed in moderation. Recently, researchers in Wisconsin published a study showing increases in blood pressure, decreases in â??goodâ?? cholesterol and lower insulin sensitivity (an early sign of possible Type 2 diabetes later on) in children who eat out four or more times a week. Regular exercise is essential to good health. Generally, some form of physical activity that lasts 30 minutes most days a week helps maintain good health. Thatâ??s 2.5 - 3.0 hours out of 160 every week; hours well-spent to greatly improve our physical and mental quality of life now and later. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Diabetes Prevention and Control Program (DPCP) operates ongoing diabetes public awareness projects and programs in partnership with agencies, schools and private organizations in many Idaho communities. They can be reached at 208-334-4928. The Humphreys Diabetes Center provides education and prevention services in the Treasure Valley and can be reached at 208-331-1155.There are many resources for more about diabetes awareness and prevention. For links, please go to my website: http://crapo.senate.gov. With our families, we can count our blessings of abundance and work toward healthier, longer lives. WORD COUNT: 600