Think about the city of Chicago for a moment. What comes to mind? For me, it’s watching the television series, ER. I think about watching Dr. Mark Green shooting baskets outside of the emergency room, about the traces of snow against the buildings and the many layers of clothing that he wears, steam coming out of his mouth with each breath as he sinks yet another jump shot. I also think about the historic Wrigley Field, the Bears, wind and two foods that I’d love to bury my face in: deep dish pizzas from Ginos and authentic Chicago hot dogs.
Now think of the population of Chicago, approximately 2.85million. Take that number, and imagine that many people being diagnosed with Diabetes in the UK each and every year. And, the overwhelming majority of those cases, 90%, are diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes – the version that’s so strongly linked with obesity.
As sobering as this is, things are worse in the United States. Many studies suggest that, if current obesity trends continue, 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. will be Diabetic by the year 2050. While we’re chugging down our deep dish pizza’s in front of the television set watching Jay Cutler throw yet another interception, Dr. Green is shooting baskets outside o
f his ER waiting for an ambulance to bring in yet another victim of insulin shock.
Currently, 23% of all the monies that hospitals spend on treating diseases are spent on treating Diabetes. And, the financial burden that Diabetes puts on the U.S. is pretty substantial – some have the number around $78bil and others have it up to $100bil or higher. And that’s Diabetes at today’s levels — think of what happens to the numbers year over year as the saying “Everything’s big in Texas” is expanded to ridiculous extremes across the entire country. The U.S. simply can’t afford for current predictions to be accurate.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. We, as runners, have already significantly lowered out chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes. In a study that was published over 16 years, 1991 to 2007, Warburton and Associates found inverse relationships between Type 2 Diabetes and levels of physical activity. And, while this may seem like I’m stating the obvious, the same series of studies also found similar links between exercise levels and occurrences of Breast and Colon Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Mental Illness, Osteoporosis and more. And, other studies suggest a link between running, more than other forms of exercise, and a slowing down of the aging process. Unless you’re aiming to win first prize in the Darwin Awards, I’d say that’s pretty good news.
So keep running and encourage others to get out there with you. If they give you grief, tell them that you’re being patriotic, in the spirit of [insert their favorite politician here]. I’m convinced that running is the most effective, economical and time effective form of exercise there is. And, it gives you a great set of legs, which can be a real asset for another benefit of running: increased sex drive. 😉
Run far, run often, run smart.