Diabetes and obesity are major public health priorities that are highly associated with environmental factors and correlated with the availability of open space in neighborhoods and communities.
Diabetes and obesity are major public health priorities due to their substantial increase nationwide and their long-term health implications for the US population.1
In 2011, almost 38% of the population had diagnosed or undiagnosed prediabetes, which indicates high blood sugar levels that are not high enough to be called full-blown diabetes. Studies suggest that one-third of Americans with diabetes don’t know they have it. In 2010, 25.8 million (8.3%) Americans had diabetes versus 29.1 million (9.3%) in 2012. In 2010, out of 25.8 million, 18.8 million were diagnosed and 7.0 million were undiagnosed. In 2012, out of 29.1 million, 21 million were diagnosed and 8.1 million were undiagnosed. In addition, in 2008-2009, 18,436 of America’s youth had type 1 diabetes and 5089 with type 2 diabetes. These findings should be a wake-up call for everyone to get proper treatment and plan healthy lifestyle to reduce and prevent the onset of diabetes.2
Diabetes occurs more in non-white populations. The rates of diagnosed diabetes by race/ethnic group are 7.6% of non-Hispanic whites, 9% of Asian Americans, 12.8% of Hispanics, 13.2% of non-Hispanic blacks, and 15.9% of American Indians/Alaskan Natives. The breakdown among Asian Americans consists of 4.4% Chinese, 11.3% Filipinos, 13% Asian Indians, and 8.8% for other Asian Americans.3
The American Diabetes Association demonstrates a clear breakdown among Hispanic adults that shows 8.5% among Central and South Americans, 9.3% for Cubans, 13.9% for Mexican Americans, and 14.8% for Puerto Ricans.
In 2012, total costs associated with diagnosed diabetes in the United States were $245 billion that includes $176 billion for direct medical expense and $69 billion in reduced productivity.3
It is necessary to educate the public on etiologic factors associated with diabetes that include obesity, diet, aging, physical inactivity, predisposing diabetogenic factors, certain antihypertensive drugs, and gender.4
The ultimate goal for patients with diabetes is to manage the disorder and control any symptoms related to hyperglycemia. In addition, it is also important to reduce the severity of chronic complications through medications, diet to manage weight, regular physical activity, and other therapeutic approaches. People must be cognizant that regular exercise is one of the best preventive measures they can take in order to avoid contracting diabetes. The exercise helps to regulate glucose–insulin requirements and will also reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
People must also be aware of some of the symptoms associated with diabetes that may include fatigue, polydipsia (thirst), Polyuria (frequent urination), polyphagia (hunger), weakness, weight loss, and burning feet. These symptoms adversely affect the individuals’ quality of life, impair their functionalities, and contribute to psychological agony.5
It is important to educate the public about risk factors, preventive measures, and lifestyle changes to prevent and reduce risks.