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Diabetes Rate May Double by 2034

Cost of Treating the Disease Set to Triple, Researchers Say

Target Obesity, Change the Future

All agree that a bigger decline in obesity, achieved though successful public health initiatives, could make a huge difference.

The future projected in the newly published study does not have to become reality, experts say.

"The cost of doing nothing is clearly going to be quite high," study co-researcher Michael O'Grady, PhD, said in a news conference. "To do nothing right now is going to cost billions and billions of dollars."

American Diabetes Association chief scientific and medical officer David M. Kendall, MD says it is now clear that even modest lifestyle changes, such as losing a few pounds or taking a walk most days a week, can drastically reduce a person's risk for developing diabetes.

The Diabetes Prevention Program was one of the largest studies ever to examine the impact of diet, exercise, and drug treatments on diabetes rates in patients at high risk for developing the disease.

The study found that these people cut their diabetes risk dramatically by losing just 7% of their body weight and engaging in moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes, a minimum of five times a week.

Early treatment with the diabetes drug metformin also helped delay or prevent diabetes, but to a lesser extent.

"Even modest weight loss and as little as 30 minutes of exercise five or more days a week and inexpensive treatments can keep people healthy," he tells WebMD. "That is really the big message."

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