Who’s Fighting the Obesity and Diabetes Pandemics?

Who’s Fighting the Obesity and Diabetes Pandemics?

  • Apr. 27, 2020 6:00 p.m.

Day after day, health officials stress that the best way to fight the coronavirus is by staying home, keeping our distance from others, and practicing good hygiene. But human isolation is crippling the world’s economy. So, does this approach make sense when other devasting pandemics have been raging for years and killing more people?

The number of coronavirus deaths is changing daily. To date, more than 180,000 people are said to have died worldwide, over 45,000 in the U.S, and over 1,800 in Canada.

But the World Health Organization reports that obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, killing 2.8 million people annually, or 7,671 people per day. Diabetes and high blood glucose annually kill 3.8 million people worldwide, or 10,411 per day.

So, what is the difference? The coronavirus pandemic is killing people faster for all to see. This makes headline news night after night. It’s the perfect medical and economic disaster, the likes of which the world has never before encountered. Yet, like others in the past, this virus will gradually fade away.

But we’re living in Never Never Land if we believe the slow, silent, pandemic of obesity and Type 2 diabetes will fade away. It won’t happen, and we will never hear about it because if has no drama. No 24-hour TV coverage. No infectious disease doctors to report its lethal progress. Nor, does it have our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, or U.S. President Donald Trump, to reassure us all will be well.

But a train wreck is coming. It’s like the boy who applied for a job at the railroad station. He was asked, “What would you do if you saw a train coming west at 100 miles an hour, and another train coming east on the same track, and they were just a quarter of a mile apart?” He replied, “I’d run and get my brother, because he’s never seen a train wreck.”

Deaths from obesity and Type 2 diabetes will slowly, silently, and surely bring our health care systems to their knees.

Obesity and Type 2 diabetes lead to expensive medical complications such as heart attack, kidney failure, blindness, leg amputations and orthopedic troubles.

Scientists will eventually develop a vaccine to control the coronavirus. And our economy, badly bruised, will survive. But researchers will never discover a vaccine to control poor human behaviours. We won’t ever see medical experts, health officials, Prime Ministers or Presidents discussing how to control the pandemic of poor lifestyle choices, arguing that we must take draconian measures and shut down society to stop the madness. So obesity and Type 2 diabetes will continue to escalate with catastrophic results.

That’s a big difference between coronavirus deaths and those due to obesity and Type 2 diabetes. One is an invisible virus that shows little mercy and stymies our best efforts to halt it. The other pandemic is one that good sense and a sound lifestyle could stop. But deaths from obesity and Type 2 diabetes, although less dramatic than coronavirus, are crippling our economy and society just the same.

We are all complicit in our societal response to pandemics. We are willing to take collective action to stop a virus. But what are we willing to do – as individuals and as a society – to fight lifestyle diseases?

Shakespeare was right when he wrote, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” Or, as Pogo the cartoon character advised, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Sign-up at www.docgiff.com to receive our weekly e-newsletter. For comments, contact-us@docgiff.com.

Health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

The future site of the Rimbey Travel Centre. Web photo
New Rimbey development aims to capitalize on highway traffic

Phase I of the Rimbey Travel Centre would be along Hwy. 20, if approved

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

soup
Rimbey FCSS to introduce the Cultural Community Kitchen

The Cultural Community Kitchen sessions will be held at the Rimbey Co-op

robbery
UPDATE: Shooting suspect arrested by Wetaskiwin/Camrose RCMP

Rimbey RCMP had responded to a complaint of an armed robbery at the Bluffton City General Store

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Ryen Williams, 11, with a lost miniature horse at JJ Collett Oct. 23. Photo by Don Williams
UPDATE: Owners found

Father and son found him while out for a walk at JJ Collett

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner, left to right, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen arrive to hold a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No-confidence showdown over sweeping Tory motion on government handling of pandemic

The Conservative motion is to be put to a vote Monday and has the support of both the Bloc Québécois and NDP

From l-r., first lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump, moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden on stage at the conclusion of the second and final presidential debate Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Trump, Biden fight over the raging virus, climate and race

Republican president declared the virus, which killed more than 1,000 Americans on Thursday alone, will “go away.”

JJ Collett Natural Area Foundation held its AGM on Oct. 19 at the Ponoka Legion. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
De-listing Alberta parks creates ‘risk’ for coal mining: CPAWS

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society speaks at JJ Collett AGM

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Temporary COVID-19 testing sites coming to Wetaskiwin and Ponoka

The Wetaskiwin location will open Oct. 23, 2020 and the Ponoka location will open Oct. 29.

ACC President and CEO Ken Kobly spoke to Ponoka Chamber of Commerce members over Zoom on Oct. 20. (Image: screenshot)
Alberta chambers are ‘411’ to members, government: ACC president

Changes to government supports, second wave and snap election

Most Read