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Monday, January 09, 2006
Currently the lead story on The Times' web site, and presumably in their print edition of Monday, Jan. 9, is a lengthy piece entitled "Diabetes and Its Awful Toll Quietly Emerge as a Crisis" by N. R. Kleinfield, along with several accompanying pieces.
The article uses the growing number of diabetes cases in New York to illustrate how this disease is becoming a nationwide epidemic. This piece states:
"An estimated 800,000 adult New Yorkers - more than one in every eight - now have diabetes, and city health officials describe the problem as a bona fide epidemic. Diabetes is the only major disease in the city that is growing, both in the number of new cases and the number of people it kills. And it is growing quickly, even as other scourges like heart disease and cancers are stable or in decline."
At the greatest risk of falling prey to diabetes are the poor, the obese, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, immigrants, and, of course, the elderly -- in other words, the majority of New Yorkers. The article also documents the frightening growth of this disease among children.
To make this sports-related, the growth of diabetes into an epidemic is to a major degree related to the decline in both our culture and public school programs of exercise and athletic programs:
"The studies ascribe the other 40 percent to lifestyle changes: the fundamental shift that has people eating jumbo meals and shunning exercise as if it were illegal. At every turn, technology has made physical activity unnecessary or unappealing. Gym class has largely been deleted from schools. Fewer than a third of junior high schools require physical education at all, the C.D.C. says."
It would also of course be nice if mainstream media outlets more regularly reported on both the decline of these school athletic programs, as well as the results of more sports other than just basketball and football.
Nonetheless, this is one of those seminal articles which is designed to be a catalyst for major societal and cultural change.
And after reading it, I took a nice, brisk walk.