(Mark Hyman, MD) How do we stop and turn back the tsunami of chronic disease, in particular, diabesity – the continuum of obesity, pre-diabetes, and diabetes that is the major driver of 21st century suffering and costs?
Diabesity is the hidden cause of most heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, stroke, dementia, many cancers (breast, colon, prostate, pancreas, liver, and kidney), and even depression. Yet is it almost never treated directly because there is no good drug for it…
Diabesity is nearly 100% preventable, treatable, and very often curable…
Intensive lifestyle treatments – simple, proven behavioral change strategies, peer and online support, appropriate financial incentives, and partnerships within communities can be used to address the social, behavioral, and biomedical roots of diabesity…
A comprehensive integrated strategy can solve this problem. Start with revised screening guidelines to identify the 90% of pre-diabetics and the 25% of diabetics never diagnosed.
Build new practice models and reimbursement for group visits to deliver lifestyle medicine in more effective and cost efficient ways. Support and scale proven community based peer-supported models of lifestyle change.
Over 20% of Americans are out of work. Train a new army of 1 million community health workers, like the barefoot doctors of China, who can support their peers in creating health. Set a national goal for America of losing 1 billion pounds a year.
Retool medical education to train future doctors in lifestyle and food treatment. Support private-public partnerships to create community environments that foster a healthier lifestyle.
Fully fund programs that work (lifestyle change), and stop paying for what doesn’t work (most angioplasties and stents and statin use.) Implement little-known provisions from the Affordable Care Act that can effect change.
Prioritize the work of the newly formed National Council on Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council, an inter-agency council focused on creating a healthy America outside of the clinic and hospital. Fund these programs, test them, implement them, measure them, and then let the good ones flourish.
We can’t win the war in Afghanistan, and we have been losing the war on cancer, but this is one war we can win. We just need to mobilize.
Community: There are many practical steps we can take to prevent, delay, or mitigate diabetes.
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