For The Health Of Our Kids: Facing The Lethal Consequences of Diabetes

Recently, researchers were puzzled about a decline in U.S. life expectancy, since a decline had not occurred in more than 20 years.

A follow-up study indicated one major factor in the decline is likely type 2 diabetes (T2D).

The role T2D seems to play in the decline makes sense when we consider that life expectancy trends are determined from the cause of death listed on death certificates. Diabetes, it seems, is an underreported cause of death because people with diabetes typically have multiple health issues, such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, or obesity. Often, a death that should be attributed to T2D is assigned to one of its related health problems.

In Third Place

To discover the actual influence that diabetes has on death rates, the researchers tallied the risk of death among people with diabetes over a five-year follow-up period. What they found was eye-opening.

Instead of being the cause of death about 3.5 percent of the time, it’s more accurate to say about 12 percent of deaths are caused by diabetes. It might be high as 19 percent for those who are obese. This means diabetes is not the seventh most common cause of mortality in the U.S., but the third, right behind cancer and heart disease.

The research result is especially disturbing since a 2015 report revealed about half of American adults have pre or type 2 diabetes, and that over 20 percent of new T2D cases are children.

Modeling Good Habits

Since death is an unsettling reality of human existence, the point of making healthy choices is to enjoy a good-as-possible quality of life while we’re here. So, we need to model for our kids and grandkids lifestyle habits they can take into adulthood—habits that prevent or delay T2D onset, such as these eight:

  1. Limiting our intake of sugary beverages and highly processed foods (avoiding them is best), and eating a diet of primarily fresh, whole, nutrient-rich, home cooked foods—including plenty of veggies.
  2. Limiting our intake of net carbs (total grams carbohydrate minus grams of fiber), consuming a moderate amount of protein, and eating more healthy fats (e.g., fatty fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil).
  3. Leading an active lifestyle that includes regular exercise, and plenty of non-exercise movement.
  4. Getting an adequate amount of vitamin D through diet, spending time outdoors, and taking supplements when necessary.
  5. Finding constructive ways to manage stress and emotional issues such as making time for our personal interests, practicing mindfulness, yoga, or Tai chi, using breathing techniques, socializing often, and utilizing counseling services when needed.
  6. Regularly getting seven to eight hours of quality sleep; this helps regulate our hormones, including insulin.
  7. Minimizing our exposure to commonly used chemicals such as DDT, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), phthalates, and perfluoroalkyl.

We should also never underestimate the power of laughter for our good health, so we’ll conclude with the playful and pithy words of columnist Doug Larson: “Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.”

Sources: Vox; Mercola

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