Just Who Is Responsible When You Develop Type 2 Diabetes?

03/03/2011 05:32 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Milt Bedingfield Author, Prescription for Type 2 Diabetes: Exercise. Exercise Physiologist and Certified Diabetes Educator

It struck me as to just how bad things really were last Friday night when I was putting my seven year old daughter to bed. she had asked me to lay down on the bottom bunk until she fell asleep. I hadn't even gotten comfortable when I heard my two oldest daughters, ten and fourteen, starting to argue in the living room. I picked my head up off the pillow to hear what the fuss was about.

They were arguing about the television remote. It seems that only one of the two was working and they both wanted it. Why? Because then they wouldn't have to get off the couch in the living room ( about 10 feet from the TV) and the bed in the bedroom (less than 10 feet from the TV) to change the channel. They're young, they're kids, and that's sad (not sad that they are kids but sad that they will argue and fight just to keep from having to get up to turn the channel on the TV).

I had a feeling this argument was going to need some dad intervention and that I was probably going to have to get up and go in to the living room. But as I waited a few seconds to see if the problem would work itself out I laid there thinking, "Man, this is exactly what I talk about at work when I am teaching class and it's happening right under my nose here at home. Both of my daughters want the remote control so they don't have to get up to change the channel."

Just as high levels of cholesterol frequently contribute to heart disease, this kind of attitude (I don't want to have to have to get up, let's make things as easy and less physical as possible) contribute greatly to the development of type 2 diabetes.

As a teenager I never dreamed that someday I would be able to use a remote control device to turn on and off the TV., Change the channel, or to rent a movie. I never thought that someday I would be able to open the garage door with the push of a button either, or open and close the van door and trunk with the push of a button, and sharpen a pencil without cranking a handle. Could everyday goings-on get much easier and less physical? Should it? As new technologies emerge, everyday tasks are likely to get even easier, that is, take even less physical effort. This is not good.

In our country, and probably every other country in the world, if engineers can figure out a way to make life easier, requiring less physical exertion to perform tasks, they usually do. Advancements in technology have led to great accomplishments with more still to come, however, there is a tremendous downside to all this technology. Too many times these advancements in technology enable us to get through the day performing less activity.

Human beings were meant to be physical, not sedentary. Initially, going way back, we were "hunters and gatherers." Back then if people wanted to eat they had to hunt their prey and gather their grains, fruits or vegetables, all requiring physical activity. If they didn't feel like doing it, they simply didn't eat. As we all know, today it requires very little effort to acquire food. Additionally, we can accomplish so many tasks now by pushing the button on a remote. We live in a time where thumb strength is probably greater than ever, but the rest of our body, probably 98 percent of it, is used in physical activity less than ever before. This, over time can lead to a multitude of of health problems, including metabolic syndrome, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

Type 2 diabetes is a very serious, incurable illness, but it is usually preventable. Previously referred to as a lifestyle illness it is now termed "a lifestyle illness." Let's get off the couch.