In the Star Tribune last Friday, there was an article about the increase in Americans with diabetes, which seems to rise hand in hand with the "obesity epidemic."
The article reports that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes now, but that could grow to 1 in 5 or even 1 in 3 Americans by 2050 if the current trends continue. That's 100 million Americans, or the populations of California, Texas, and New York combined. The article notes that there are multiple factors for the increase, including the fact that diabetics are living longer thanks to modern medical care, so naturally there will be more living diabetics at a time. They also note that "Not all of the increase in prevalence is a bad thing." Type I diabetes is included in this study, which is unrelated to obesity. However, type II diabetes now accounts for 95% of cases. It's most common in people who are overweight and obese, in people 60 and older, and in African-Americans and other minority groups.
This states that people who are overweight and obese, along with the groups of people who are most at risk to becoming obese (the elderly and minorities) are also at high risk for type 2 diabetes. In our discussions of whether or not disease causes obesity or obesity causes disease, we could recognize that many people who are obese or are at risk to become obese already have type 2 diabetes. Could that mean that type 2 diabetes causes some cases of obesity? If people who aren't obese, but are at risk, get type 2 diabetes, could that mean that some obesity is a result of type 2 diabetes that has progressed farther? Then again not all obese people have type 2 diabetes. Or is it simply the lifestyle of drive-thru meals, processed food, and limited exercise that is the cause for both obesity and type 2 diabetes?
The article states that "the growth in U.S. diabetes cases has been closely tied to escalating obesity rates. Recent CDC data suggests obesity rates may have recently leveled off. But the new estimates should hold up even if obesity rates remain static, CDC officials said....'The magnitude is a bit surprising. But the trend is not.'" This article, like most of the research we've studied, never says what is the cause for the rise in diabetes cases.
The ever-lingering question of how all of these symptoms, diseases, or whatever we call them are intertwined is not answered in this article.