Managing one’s weight and observing a diet with fresh fruits and vegetables are key components to weight loss and preventing or managing diabetes, according to Dr. Mark Hyman, chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine and founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, one in two Americans suffers from diabetes. It’s worse among black Americans who are twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic whites.

In addition, black Americans are more likely to suffer complications from diabetes, such as end-stage renal disease and lower extremity amputations. Although African Americans have the same or lower rate of high cholesterol as their white counterparts, they are more likely to have high blood pressure.

• In 2006, African American men were 2.2 times as likely as white men to start treatment for end-stage renal disease related to diabetes.

• In 2006, diabetic African Americans were 1.5 times as likely as diabetic whites to be hospitalized.

• In 2006, African Americans were 2.3 times as likely as whites to die from diabetes.

• Diabesity is one of the leading causes of chronic disease in the 21st century, including heart disease, stroke, dementia, and cancer, and the numbers of sick people keep growing. One in three children born today will have diabetes. We are now raising the first generation of Americans to live sicker and die younger than their parents.

Hyman says chronic disease is linked to what he calls “diabesity,” a metabolic imbalance and disease that ranges from mild blood sugar imbalance to full-blown diabetes.

In his new book, “The Blood Sugar Solution,” Hyman says diabetes can be reduced or prevented by making changes in the diet.

In his book, Hyman says obesity, pre-diabetes, and diabetes cost us more than $2 trillion a year in health care costs. Currently, there are no national screening recommendations, no treatment guidelines, no approved medications, and no reimbursement to health care providers for diagnosing and treating anything other than full-blown diabetes. Doctors, Hyman said, are not expected, trained, or paid to diagnose and treat the single biggest chronic disease in America.

“The Blood Sugar Solution” lays out a six-week healthy-living program that will help all individuals, regardless of whether they are obese or diabetic. The plan also provides advice on diet, green living, supplements medication and exercise.

Hyman was awarded the 2009 Linus Pauling Award for Leadership in Functional Medicine. In addition to being a contributor on “Get Well Wednesdays,” for the Tom Joyner Morning Show, he is medical editor at the Huffington Post and on the Medical Advisory Board at “The Dr. Oz Show.”

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