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Blindness, the next effect of obesity

Posted on 12/18/2012

The nation’s dual epidemics of obesity and type II diabetes are producing yet another side effect, blindness, according to a new study.

With the percentage of people with type II diabetes due to obesity in this country surging, there is an increase of vision loss by 21 percent in just about six years, rising to nearly 1.7 percent of the population.

The rates of visual impairment doubled among poor people and those who have had diabetes for a decade or more, according to the study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Visual impairment was defined as anything worse than 20/40 vision that can’t be corrected with glasses, a problem that disqualifies people from driving in many states.

Researchers noted that the changes were dramatic in eye disease in a short period of time. Typically, this sort of sight loss occurs in old age and not in younger adults.

The findings in adults from 20-39 years old, when such vision problems are typically rare, there was the biggest jump. It proved to be a “red flag” for researchers who hope people take notice.

The concern is with children and teens, who are now developing type II diabetes at younger ages because of being overweight and inactive. The longer people live with diabetes, the greater the chance of suffering serious complications, which can take a decade or more to develop.

Researchers note that this trend is the tip of the ice burg. More will follow and it will get worse, if the obesity epidemic does not reverse its current course.

With 27 million people with diabetes, and up to 80 million people with “pre-diabetes,” (which puts them at high risk of developing the disease) we have to stop it in its tracks. We must help reduce the rate of obesity and therefore reduce type II diabetes to lessen the side effects like blindness, kidney failure, amputations and the list goes on. Portion and calorie-controlled diets work. It is proven, if you burn more calories than you consume, then you will lose weight. It's the bottom line!

post-author

Seattle Sutton, BSN, RN

She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.

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