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A new study published in the January 2012 issue of the journal Health Affairs brings to light some of the lesser-known, yet disastrous consequences of diabetes on the lives on young people in the US.  The physical complications of living with the disease have been clearly communicated by the medical community as well as the media.  However, relatively little information has been disseminated regarding other long-term, detrimental effects of diabetes on the lives of sufferers.  In their report, Jason Fletcher and Michael Richards of the Yale School of Public Health show that diabetes in young people negatively affects not only corporeal health, but also academic achievement and lifetime earning potential.



Some highlights (lowlights?) of the study:
  • The high school dropout rate is about 6% higher for those with diabetes compared to those without.
  • The lifetime earnings penalty of diabetes, assuming a 40-year working life, is at least $160,000.
  • Having a parent with diabetes reduces the likelihood of a child attending college by 4-6%, regardless of the child's health status.
  • Having a father with diabetes reduces a child's likelihood of employment at age 30 by about 7%.
The impact of the high school dropout rate on our nation is significant.  According to estimates cited in the Health Affairs study, each high school dropout costs society an extra $243,000 to $388,000 over their lifetime.  With the rising rates of childhood obesity and diabetes in the US, the detrimental effect of diabetes on educational outcomes could result in a heavy national financial burden above and beyond the more obvious and already economically deleterious direct healthcare costs related to the disease (which are also out of control).

The surprising inter-generational effects of diabetes on education and employment seen in this study show that diabetes harms not only the individual sufferer, but also his or her children.  Keep in mind that a child with one or two obese parents is 50% and 80% more likely, respectively, to be obese himself and that obesity is a leading risk factor for diabetes.  Together, these data indicate that obesity and diabetes can create a cascade of negative health and financial consequences lasting for generations within a family.

One caveat to this study is that it did not discriminate between Type I and Type II diabetics.  While this lumping together of data does leave a bit to be desired methodologically, I doubt if it has any significant implications regarding the study's conclusions.  Type I diabetes, which is an autoimmune disorder and is not linked to obesity, accounts for only about 5% of all diabetes cases.

If you're interested in reading the study in full, its abstract and access to full text options can be found at http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/31/1/27.abstract.

Quality mail lists diabetics with them if you want to get in touch.

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In all countries and jurisdictions, there are many topics in the politics and evidence that can influence the decision of a government, private sector business or other group to adopt a specific health policy regarding the financing structure. Thanks.

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dave
7/8/2013

have these guys not heard from their young friends that eating green would help big time with this diease

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    Rob Bent is the founder and lead nutrition counselor at Nutrition Perfected.  He is a multi-sport athlete and works constantly to maximize sports performance through scientifically-guided nutritional optimization.

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