Diabetes ‘epidemic’ in L.A.

first_imgLOS ANGELES – The county’s public health department on Monday released its latest statistics on diabetes, and area doctors called the findings alarming.As of 2005, 8.6 percent of adults, or about 600,000 individuals, have been diagnosed as diabetics, public health officials said. This is up from 1997, when6.6 percent of the county’s adult population reported being diagnosed withthe disease. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to loss of vision, kidney failure, high blood pressure, and eventually, heart attacks and strokes.Rocky Estrada, a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator at Beverly Hospital in Montebello, said many people now spend too much time watching television, playing video games and onthe computer, rather than beingphysically active.“It’s a constant battle,” he said. “All of our technology has advanced us into obesity.”County Board of Supervisors Chairman Zev Yaroslavsky said the disease cost the county’s economy about $5.6 billion in medical expenses and lost workplace productivity in 2005.“Investing in early intervention is cost-effective,” he said.Doctors said there is no “magic bullet.” Prevention of the disease comes down to weight management, healthy diet and exercise.“Part of the solution is education,” Estrada said.Yaroslavsky agreed.“The public has to demand (necessary changes),” he said. “Right now the public needs to know what to demand.”Health professionals said while some ethnic groups seem more prone to the disease genetically, lack of access to healthy food and health care in low-income areas are also to blame.“It’s cheaper to fill up on chips and a soft drink than it is to buy healthy food,” Fielding said. Peters added that fresh fruits and vegetables are not readily accessible in many low-income areas.“(Lower income residents) can’t afford it and it’s not available,” she said. “You’ve got to make (nutritious food) easier to get.”Doctors said perceptions about food and physical activity need to change to head off the [email protected](562) 698-0955, Ext. 3051Diabetes ‘epidemic’ in L.A.By Bethania Palma, Staff WriterLOS ANGELES – The county’s public health department on Monday released its latest statistics on diabetes, and area doctors called the findings alarming.As of 2005, 8.6 percent of adults, or about 600,000 individuals, have been diagnosed as diabetics, public health officials said. This is up from 1997, when6.6 percent of the county’s adult population reported being diagnosed withthe disease.“It’s the No. 1 epidemic that we have in this county,” said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, public health director.Dr. Anne Peters, professor of medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine and diabetologist at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, echoed Fielding’s sentiments.“It’s a huge increase overall,” she said. “It’s a disturbing figure to me.”Diabetes is a chronic condition where the body’s ability to produce the hormone insulin is curtailed, limiting its ability to process sugar.The study found Latinos and African Americans are more than twice as likely as whites to suffer from the disease, as are people living below the federal poverty line compared with those above it.If left untreated, diabetes can lead to loss of vision, kidney failure, high blood pressure, and eventually, heart attacks and strokes.Rocky Estrada, a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator at Beverly Hospital in Montebello, said many people now spend too much time watching television, playing video games and onthe computer, rather than beingphysically active.“It’s a constant battle,” he said. “All of our technology has advanced us into obesity.”County Board of Supervisors Chairman Zev Yaroslavsky said the disease cost the county’s economy about $5.6 billion in medical expenses and lost workplace productivity in 2005.“Investing in early intervention is cost-effective,” he said.Doctors said there is no “magic bullet.” Prevention of the disease comes down to weight management, healthy diet and exercise.“Part of the solution is education,” Estrada said.Yaroslavsky agreed.“The public has to demand (necessary changes),” he said. “Right now the public needs to know what to demand.”Health professionals said while some ethnic groups seem more prone to the disease genetically, lack of access to healthy food and health care in low-income areas are also to blame.“It’s cheaper to fill up on chips and a soft drink than it is to buy healthy food,” Fielding said. Peters added that fresh fruits and vegetables are not readily accessible in many low-income areas.“(Lower income residents) can’t afford it and it’s not available,” she said. “You’ve got to make (nutritious food) easier to get.”Doctors said perceptions about food and physical activity need to change to head off the [email protected](562) 698-0955, Ext. 3051160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “It’s the No. 1 epidemic that we have in this county,” said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, public health director.Dr. Anne Peters, professor of medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine and diabetologist at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, echoed Fielding’s sentiments.“It’s a huge increase overall,” she said. “It’s a disturbing figure to me.”Diabetes is a chronic condition where the body’s ability to produce the hormone insulin is curtailed, limiting its ability to process sugar.The study found Latinos and African Americans are more than twice as likely as whites to suffer from the disease, as are people living below the federal poverty line compared with those above it.last_img

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