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Type 2 Diabetes:

A Growing Epidemic A recent medical research report, looking ahead from the year 2000, set the tone for today's high -- and growing -- level of concern about the increasing diabetes threat:

"Diabetes mellitus has reached epidemic proportions worldwide as we enter the new millennium. The World Health Organization (WHO) has commented there is 'an apparent epidemic of diabetes which is strongly related to lifestyle and economic change.' Over the next decade the projected number will exceed 200 million, possibly reaching 250 million persons. Most will have type 2 diabetes, and all are at risk of the development of complications."

Even more alarming, a new epidemic of type 2 diabetes is affecting America's children. Just 10 years ago, type 2 diabetes was rare; by 1999, type 2 diabetes affected children in up to 45% of diagnosed cases, depending on geographic location.

But maybe you haven't been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and neither has anyone close to you. You may be wondering why you need to be concerned.

The answer? Many of those millions of new type 2 cases won't be diagnosed for years -- but some already have their beginnings in today's unhealthy lifestyles. This means that you (or someone you care about) may already have type 2 diabetes, or develop it, if you are aging, eating an unhealthy diet, are obese, and/or are living a sedentary (non-active) lifestyle.

What can you do? Ask your doctor about healthy actions you can take now to avoid being swept up by the type 2 epidemic in the years ahead. Or, if you have some signs of type 2 diabetes, see your doctor as soon as possible. Encourage the people you care about to take these precautions as well.

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