Half of All Americans Are Diabetic or Pre-Diabetic

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A new study finds that half of all Americans are either diabetic or pre-diabetic. But there’s supposedly good news lurking there:

After two decades of linear growth, the prevalence of diabetes in the United States has finally started to plateau.

….Herman and Rothberg, who were not involved in the research, said the study suggests the implementation of food, nutrition and physical activity policies and regulations by federal, state and local governments as well as other efforts to curb obesity and diabetes have finally started to pay off.

Color me skeptical. Consider a thought experiment. Suppose we had done nothing about this. No government regulations. No haranguing by doctors. No PR campaigns. Nothing. What would the results be?

At a guess, half the population is naturally prone to eating (more or less) properly and isn’t especially susceptible to diabetes. So if we did nothing at all, I’d wager that about half the population would remain free of diabetes.

This is just a guess, and I doubt there’s any way to prove it one way or another. But it hardly seems like an unreasonable guess. And what it means is that all the regulating and haranguing and advertising has probably accomplished nothing. Maybe it’s time to try something else?

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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