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Contact: Cindy Karra -- 202-974-5009

Diabesity™ -- the Link Between Obesity and Diabetes -- Racks up Health and Financial Costs, says Shape Up America!

For Immediate Release 

Washington, DC/PRNewswire/March 15, 2002 -- Health care cost projections fail to account for the rapidly escalating prevalence of Diabesity™, warns Shape Up America -- the nonprofit organization committed to helping Americans manage their weight. Diabesity™ is the causal connection between obesity and type 2 diabetes, and is the focus of ongoing initiatives by Shape Up America!

"Diabetes costs form the lion's share of the $117 billion in annual costs attributed to obesity in a recent report issued by the US Surgeon General's office," says Barbara J. Moore, PhD, President of Shape Up America! "Our Diabesity™ initiatives aim to help Americans learn how to limit portion sizes, make wiser food choices, and adopt a more physically active lifestyle -- because type 2 diabetes is one condition that is worsened by further weight gain and is actually improved by weight loss."

A recent study by Rand Institute researcher, Dr. Roland Sturm, (Health Affairs, 2002;21(2):245-253) describes the high costs of obesity and compares the effects of obesity, 20 years of aging, smoking, and problem drinking on the risk of acquiring diabetes. Among the four factors evaluated, obesity has the most powerful and costly effects on health. Obese people face a risk of diabetes that is five times greater than that of smokers and is even higher than the effects of 20 years of aging.

A separate study (New England Journal of Medicine, 2002:346:802-810) identifies an alarmingly high prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance among severely obese children, regardless of their ethnicity. One out of four obese children and one out of five obese teens will likely develop type 2 diabetes. The longterm prediction for these kids is grim unless their entire families get involved in healthful strategies for weight management.

Shape Up America! was founded in 1994 by former US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop to raise awareness of the health effects of obesity and to provide responsible information on weight management to the public and to health care professionals. The award-winning Shape Up America! website -- www.shapeup.org -- offers clear weight management information in an entertaining and engaging manner. Diabesity™ is a registered trademark of Shape Up America!

Source: Shape Up America! Website: www.shapeup.org

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