by Marion Nestle
Oct 24 2007

Doing something about diabetes and obesity in New York City

City University and the Public Health Association of New York City have just released their long-awaited report, “Reversing the Diabetes and Obesity Epidemics in New York City: A Call to Action.”  The report focuses on public health–rather than individual–causes of these problems and makes recommendations about how to change the environment to make it more conducive to eating better (less, I call it) and moving more.   It’s a good place to go for data on the extent of these problems.  Enjoy (?)

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  • lesliet

    As a participant in the Diabetes Prevention Program (cited on page 11), it was really great to see this report. The most amazing part was that they dared to call out the forces that are profiting from the diabetes epidemic (see page 10): the pharmaceutical and medical supply companies, insurance companies, hospitals, and food and beverage companies. It will be interesting to see how fast the administration and their right-wing friends move to discredit and suppress this report.

  • Anton

    Curious, though, why they say a “low-fat, low-calorie diet” is the ideal way to bring AIC and blood sugar into line.

    That’s bizarre. Policitally correct, but bizarre.

  • I’m so impressed they mentioned High Fructose Corn Syrup several times.

    But one of their solutions is such a winner – “Tax high-calorie, low-nutrient sweetened beverages and other low nutrient foods and use revenues to fund nutrition education.”

    I’ve had a similar but more radical idea – a flat $6 health tax on fast food and chain restaurant purchases. (Add another $6 for each increment over $50?) Put that money straight into purchasing food from local farmers for schools.

  • lesliet

    I’d like to respond to Anton’s question about why the report refers to a “low-fat, low-calorie diet”. I assume that is because the report is basing its recommendations on the Diabetes Prevention Program study results. The DPP was a multi-year program that began, I believe, in 1998 (I joined it in 1999). The protocol for the study was presumably written even earlier than that. So at the time, the choice was made to encourage the study particpants to eat a “low-fat, low-calorie diet”. I don’t know if the same choice would be made if the study was started today instead of 10 years ago. It takes a long time to design and fund and perform such a study, so at this time we have only the results of work that was begun some time ago. I’m sure that there are other studies underway and additional results will be coming out as they complete their work.

    So as I interpret, they are not saying this is the “ideal” way to deal with these issues, but it is one way that happens to have proven, documented results.

  • Anton

    Thank you lesliet for your perspective. I was not aware that low-fat diets had been shown to improve glycemic control, and HbA1C levels in Type 2 diabetes to near-normal levels. I had seen many studies demonstrating that carbohydrate restriction significantly improves glycemic control, but was not aware that limiting fat does so too. Interesting.

  • Here’s what I thought of that report:

    You know, the authors put an e-mail address on the back cover of their report, and yet 15 days after I sent them a letter, they have not even acknowledged it. Very sad.

    For those who think that taxing “unhealthy” foods is a good idea, all I can say is, I’d be happier with that solution if I had any confidence whatsoever that the government actually knows what we should eat.

  • I have absolutely no confidence whatsover that the government knows what I or my family should eat. So I would not support that tactic (not that I mind paying mire for quality food, I often do).

    We should eliminate all farm subsidies for corn, soy, and wheat.