Watching thousands of adult Americans succumb to Type 2 Diabetes is depressing enough when you know what it would take to change the statistics. Seeing the trend in Type 2 Diabetes rise among youngsters, however, is many times more infuriating and frustrating. It’s not as though the reasons behind this disease are a mystery. Only in rare cases does a person develop Type 2 Diabetes in spite of making healthy lifestyle choices.
The Western world wants to study causes of obesity and reasons for the rise in Type 2 Diabetes, but that will mostly be money wasted. We know that the two problems are related to each other along with rising rates of cancer, heart disease, mental illness, and dementia-type problems. It’s often said that this is the first generation which will live shorter lives than the previous one because of our addiction to foods which are harming us. There are always exceptions and they are tragic, but most of the problems consumers face are caused by choices they make at the grocery store and in the kitchen; at the drive-through window and fast-food counter.
Industrialization has touched every area of our lives, including meal time. Busy households were grateful for processed cheese slices and boxed cereals, but these and other instant foods introduced a few problems to the modern North American diet. They put more sugar and refined flour onto the menu which led to sugar addiction and insulin resistance.
And look what happened: Consumers were suddenly hungry all the time, craving food they didn’t need, and experiencing sugar lows like never before which led to the need for more instant calories. Consumers thought less about where their food came from, what it was made from, and how it affected their bodies. Shoppers became disconnected from the sources of their food. All the wise teachings of our mothers and grandmothers were ignored in favor of convenience and economy. Obesity, heart disease, and Type 2 Diabetes were on the rise.
Then kids stopped going outside. Socializing became unnatural as all other kids were inside playing video games. Like their parents, many youths have forgotten how to be part of a community except at school, and even there many of them resist membership in clubs or teams. Westerners don’t value community the way they used to or find it difficult to connect, thanks to their schedules, so they don’t think about others watching their eating habits, have no one to help them behave responsibly, and often eat out of loneliness at all ages. The food itself is a bit-player leading to a major problem.
How to Combat the Problem
Organizations are already working hard, promoting whole days and entire weeks where families walk or cycle to work, put their gaming devices away, and play outside. Health agencies promote good eating and local shopping where one is more likely to find locally-grown carrots than instant food. Schools are more responsible for food education and providing fitness than parents are, so that kids are teaching their parents the value and nature of healthy eating and exercise. They will turn the tables on Type 2 Diabetes by the time their own children enter the world.