RAD is really all about how you can get yourself to exercise and eat smart . . . to win the race against diabetes.




"Diabetics have a solemn duty: we must save our families and friends from diabetes, from dying in misery from diabetes or watching us die in misery. And we can."

--RAD co-founder Terry












The Elephant in the Room

TrunkieOur baby elephant Trunkster certainly isn’t scary.

But he is “the elephant in the room,” and he wants to stop the diabetes epidemic. He and we can talk about the scary stuff that others are afraid to discuss because they might lose some funding. Here’s some of the scary stuff:

1) The diabetes epidemic is the obesity epidemic

2) The odds of passing along diabetes to your kids shouldn’t be ignored

3) Preventing diabetes complications isn’t about tasty sugar-free recipes

4) Diabetes can lead to long, painful and miserable dying (see also our Complications A-Z page)



The Facts:

1) The diabetes epidemic is the obesity epidemic

The epidemic rise in incidence of diabetes in the U.S. comes from our growing size (weight). More than two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight, and one-third (35.7%) are obese. It is also estimated that one-third of U.S. adults are already diabetic or prediabetic.

Obesity is the main cause of Type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease, stroke, and at least 9 types of cancer.  These are the leading causes of preventable death. 15-22 million people in the U.S. have diabetes—but it gets worse—much worse:

One in every three boys born in the U.S. today will get diabetes in their lifetime—and 2 out of 5 girls!  It’s even worse for babies of African-American or Hispanic-American heritage (for girls, those rates are 49% and 58%, respectively).  And now many will get “adult-onset” diabetes (Type 2) as kids!

The epidemic rise in incidence of diabetes in the U.S. comes from our failure to exercise and eat smart. 

Like it or not, we’re all in the race against diabetes. But most cases of diabetes can be prevented by very moderate weight loss through exercise and smart eating. And for those of us who already have diabetes, complications can be prevented through exercise and smart eating, too.  We can win the race if we help each other!


2) The risk of passing along diabetes to our kids shouldn’t be ignored

  • The odds our kids will get diabetes is higher for Type 2’s than Type 1’s

“Type 2 diabetes runs in families. In part, this tendency is due to children learning bad habits — eating a poor diet, not exercising — from their parents. But there is also a genetic basis.” (ADA)

If you have Type 2 diabetes, the risk of your child getting diabetes is 1 in 7. If both parents have type 2 diabetes, their child’s risk is about 1 in 2.

  • The odds of passing along Type 1 aren’t so high for most of Type 1’s . . . but for some of us, it’s as high as 1 in 2 . . . .

If you’re a man with Type 1, the odds of your child getting it are 1 in 17; the odds are 1 in 25 if you’re a woman with Type 1 and you’re under age 25 (only 1 in 100 if you’re older).

But your child’s risk is doubled if you developed diabetes before age 11. And if both you and your partner have Type 1, the risk is between 1 in 10 and 1 in 4.

For some Type 1’s, the risk is much higher. About 1 in every 7 people with Type 1 has  “type 2 polyglandular autoimmune syndrome,” with a poorly working adrenal gland and often thyroid disease or other autoimmune disorders as well. Their risk of passing along the syndrome—including Type 1—is 1 in 2.


3) Preventing diabetes complications isn’t about tasty sugar-free recipes

It drives us nuts here at RAD when we get our monthly diabetes magazine from the big diabetes organization, and the cover features recipes. What is it with food and our brains? Can’t we get over thinking about how much we love to eat?

Weight loss or weight control is critical to preventing diabetes and its complications. But RAD isn’t about eating, or what to eat. It’s about mindful eating. Food is just fuel, and when we’re mindful about eating, we don’t need to be hungry. Of course some foods are better for us than others. –“See that cake over there? It’s to die for!” No, it really isn’t. Worth dying for, that is.

If your brain is giving you trouble about eating, remember this: the more you exercise, the more you get to eat. Eat as much as you need for your activity level–no more, and only a little less if you got behind the curve and need to lose weight. If you try to lose weight fast, you’ll end up nowhere.

And Diets-with-a-capital-D just don’t work. Or rather, they all work for a short time, and then they don’t. Smart eating, mindful eating, works.

RAD‘s commitment element is the biggest help for smart eating: if you tell everyone you’re going to win the race against diabetes, you won’t pig out. If you wear your RAD “I’m Racing Against Diabetes” T-shirt when you go to Home Town Buffet, you won’t pig out, and you can help save more people when they ask you about your shirt. —RAD‘s team element will help you with smart eating, too: you’re responsible to your teammates, and they’ll support you just as you’re supporting them about smart eating.


4) Diabetes can lead to long, painful and miserable dying

Diabetes causes terrible misery—and much too often leads to long, miserable dying.  It can and does cause kidney failure, blindness, amputations, heart disease, neuropathy—and more.  The numbers are frightening—82,000 lower-limb amputations a year in the U.S., 44,000 new cases of kidney failure, 12-22,000 new cases of blindness . . . .  And those numbers will triple or quadruple if we don’t stop the epidemic!

TrunkieDiabetes hurts everyone, but especially our families–the ones who love us, the ones we love. 

Trunkster thanks you for listening, and says that together we can—and must—stop the epidemic!