I admit it. I watch the Biggest Loser. The transformation of the morbidly obese contestants is amazing to watch, and also very motivating. If only the Biggest Loser campus were large enough to accommodate all of the 72.5 million obese Americans estimated by the CDC. That number represents an astonishing 26.7% of the American population! However, there is a shift in today’s thinking, and that is to concentrate more on prevention; to be more proactive than reactive.
With obesity, everyone knows complications or possibly premature death can occur. One of the most troubling consequences of the rising rates of obesity is the astounding increase in the number of people with diabetes. The number of American adults treated for diabetes has more than doubled between 1996 and 2007, rising from 9 million to 19 million, according to a recent report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Type 2 diabetes, often related to obesity, represents over 95 percent of diabetes cases. To make matters even worse, people with diabetes who are obese have a higher risk of complications like heart disease and stroke. In fact, eighty percent of people with diabetes will die of heart disease, not diabetes.
Many people with diabetes do not understand that they are at an increased risk of heart disease or stroke or how high their risk is. The assessment Medicom Health Interactive created for the American Heart Association, My Diabetes Health Assessment allows a diabetic patient to get a personal assessment of the risks of heart disease and stroke based on their personal risk factors.
But the power of the assessment is the next step – learning what can be done about it. Both losing weight and exercising will lower the risks of heart disease and stroke and the My Diabetes Health Assessment shows how much it will help. Through a simple interaction, it shows how weight loss of only x% can lower both heart attack risk and stroke. Increasing exercise will also lower this risk.
Both the Biggest Loser and the My Diabetes Health Assessment show people in a visual way that they can take steps to improve their lives.