What does Tom Hanks have in common with Halle Berry, Drew Carey, Patti LaBell and Paula Deen? Tom is just the latest Hollywood star to disclose that he has Type 2 Diabetes. When he announced his disease on a recent David Letterman show, he said that he has had high blood sugar numbers since he was 36 (he’s now 57).

Diabetes is at epidemic levels in the U.S. and growing. A recent study found that nearly 26 million people in this country have diabetes and another 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes, a condition that places people at higher risk for developing the disease.

There has been a lot of talk lately about health care costs, especially with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act beginning earlier this month. According to Robert Ratner, the chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association, “Our health care system and our economy are being overwhelmed by diabetes – it is just not a sustainable situation.”

Most people falsely believe that the biggest factor in a person’s risk of developing diabetes is genetics. But that’s just not true. Genetics does play a role, but it’s a much smaller role than commonly thought. By staying physically active and eating a healthy variety of foods is the key. It shouldn’t be surprising that obesity is a well-established warning sign of diabetes risk.

We advise people to make healthy choices and maintain a healthy weight, regardless of their family history, as the most important thing that people can do to prevent this disease. Let’s end the diabetes epidemic that is sapping people’s health and our nation’s economy.

Want to know how you can develop a healthy relationship with food and minimize your risk of diabetes? Check out our Eat Great, Live Well Program. What have you got to lose – other than bad habits, excess weight, low self-esteem, or yo-yo dieting?

Remember, healthy choices you make each day can transform your family for generations! What choices will you make today?
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You may also want to read: Quick, Healthy Soda Alternatives, Diabetes Costs U.S. $245B Per Year, Do You Know the Risks of Obesity?

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