Jazz Fit: Diabetes Awareness

Each November, communities across the country observe National Diabetes Month to bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans. "I can tell you firsthand that diabetes is a family illness. It affects everyone who loves you,” said Gail Miller, owner and chairman of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies and the Utah Jazz.

Diabetes is becoming a national crisis. An estimated 30.3 million Americans currently have the disease and an additional 84 million have what is known as prediabetes. Many of those who have diabetes and prediabetes are not even aware they have the condition until they develop complications.

“There really is an awareness problem,” said Robin Marcus, PhD, Chief Wellness Officer for University of Utah Health. “More people need to know about the risks and how they can mitigate them by eating healthy food and getting more physical activity.”  

There are two primary types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body does not make insulin due to an immune response in the pancreas. Patients with this type of diabetes have to take insulin daily.

Type 2 diabetes happens when the body does not make enough insulin, or does not efficiently use the insulin it does make. This type of diabetes is treated with medication in addition to changes in diet and exercise. “This is the most common type of diabetes,” said Marcus. “And it is often brought on or made worse by lifestyle factors like obesity, poor diet, and a sedentary lifestyle.”

Neither type of diabetes is curable, so prevention is the best medicine. Since Type 1 diabetes currently cannot be prevented the focus is now on preventing Type 2 diabetes. “One in five children is now obese in the United States,” said Marcus. “We need to start teaching healthy habits at a young age if we want to reverse this trend and reduce their risk of developing diabetes.”

The Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation has partnered with University of Utah Health to launch the Driving Out Diabetes, a Larry H. Miller Family Wellness Initiative to provide diabetes prevention education as well as deliver screening for people who are vulnerable to developing diabetes. For more information, visit uofuhealth.org/diabetesprevention.


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