Like it or not, we’re all in the race

 . . . and we’re losing badly!

Racing Against Diabetes Foundation, Inc.

Together we can—must!—win the race against diabetes!



How to Prevent Diabetes!

(or avoid its complications if you already have it)



So . . . whatzit?

(Diabetes 101)


Diabetes is marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both. Diabetes can lead to serious complications and premature death.

Insulin?  Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas that helps glucose move from the blood into the cells.  After you eat, food breaks down into glucose, which gets absorbed into the bloodstream, and—with the help of insulin—gets across cell walls, moves into your cells and produces energy.  In sum:  glucose can’t get into cells without insulin.


Type 1 diabetes, or insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile-onset diabetes. In Type 1 diabetes, the body's immune system destroys the pancreatic beta cells that make insulin. There is no cure for and no way to prevent Type 1 diabetes.


Type 2 diabetes, or adult-onset diabetes, accounts for 95% of all cases of diabetes. It begins with cell walls resisting insulin.  Insulin keeps trying to get glucose out of the blood and into the cells, but cell walls keep resisting.  The pancreas gradually loses its ability to produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes is associated with older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, physical inactivity, and race/ethnicity. African Americans, Hispanic/ Latino Americans, American Indians, and some Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at particularly high risk for Type 2 diabetes and complications.


Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy in some women.  They have a 20% to 50% chance of developing diabetes in the next 5-10 years.

Centers for Disease Control’s “Diabetes Fact Sheet 2005.”


Eeek!!! It’s biting me!


Symptoms to watch for (but you might have some or none of them):

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme hunger
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Tingling or numbness in hands/feet
  • Feeling very tired much of the time
  • Very dry skin
  • Sores that are slow to heal
  • More infections than usual

Nausea, vomiting, or stomach pains may also signal type 1 diabetes.


—But don’t wait for any symptoms—you can reduce your risk of getting Type 2 now!

What, Me Worry?



Diabetes is coming!

Diabetes is coming!


The prevalence of diabetes is increasing at an epidemic rate in the U.S.  Like it or not, we’re all in a race against diabetes—and we’re tired of losing!


20-22 million people in the U.S. already have diabetes—but it gets worse—much worse:


One-third of adults in the U.S. are already diabetic or pre-diabetic—and now many kids will get Type 2 diabetes!


A Centers for Disease Control study concluded the risk of diabetes is increasing at a terrifying rate in the U.S.:  1 in 3 for males born today will get diabetes in their lifetime, and 2 in 5 females!  The rates are even higher for people of African-American or Hispanic-American heritage (for females, those rates are 49% and 58%, respectively).


Also, note that CDC reports that nearly 2 in 3 (!)  adults in the U.S. are overweight, and 30% are obese.  Besides diabetes and heart disease, guess what else comes with obesity—high risk for 8  different kinds of cancer.


Can’t Hurt Me!


Wanna bet?  Even if you don’t get it

 . . . the direct medical costs for diabetes were $92 billion in 2002, and the epidemic increase will break our entire medical system.  But you do have friends or family with it, and it causes terrible misery— strokes and heart disease (at 2-4X higher rates), 12-24,000 new cases of blindness per year, 44,000 new kidney failures/year, 82,000 lower-limb amputations/year, nerve damage in 60% to 70% of diabetics

 . . . and more.  Diabetes is the 5th leading cause of death in the U.S., not counting its contribution to heart disease.

Centers for Disease Control’s “Diabetes Fact Sheet 2005.”


Diabetes much too often leads to long, miserable dying.


Diabetes hurts everyone, but especially the families of diabetics.

Hey!  It’s avoidable!!


There’s hope if we all get moving now!  CDC’s Diabetes Prevention Program study showed that most cases of diabetes can be prevented by very moderate weight loss.  For those who already have diabetes, exercise and weight loss can at the very least prevent or reduce its complications.


The subjects in the Diabetes Prevention Program study were already overweight and  pre-diabetic—with elevated blood sugar levels.  The experimental group reduced their risk of becoming diabetic by 58% with only a moderate [5-7%] weight loss accomplished through very moderate exercise [30 min. of walking five days per week] and restriction of fat intake to 25% or less of total calories.

–And there is no doubt that their risk would have been reduced even further if they had lost even more weight.  —But better yet!  Don’t get overweight in the first place!  Especially kids!!


The epidemic rise in incidence of diabetes in the U.S. comes from our failure to get in training to race against it.  We can change the course of the epidemic—and the course of your life!  Join us and start training with us to win the race against diabetes!


Aw, nuts!  It’s Too Late . . . .

Wrong, wrong, wrong!  If you already have diabetes, it’s not too late to improve your finish in the race! You can improve your chances of avoiding diabetes complications.

Keeping your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol under control can prevent diabetes problems.  Don’t smoke.  (!)  And exercise and eat smart!


Start training with your team! —Free T-shirts!  See





How can we all win the race against diabetes?


Train like the athlete you can be!  Exercise and eat smart!  Here are some training tips that work:


·          Commit to exercising and eating smart—tell everyone you know you’re racing against diabetes!

·          Team up!  Form a Racing Against Diabetes team with your family and friends, and train with them.  They all need it, too, and most of us need the support and structure of a team to keep up our training.

·          Set up a regular schedule for when you’ll exercise.  Exercise with a teammate if possible—a schedule with a teammate will make it much easier to get out and do it, and keep doing it.

·          Get together with friends over training sessions instead of over meals.  You’ll have fun and you’ll all feel better!

·          Exercise at least moderately, at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.   Learn about training levels, buy a heart monitor and watch it—keep your heart rate in the zone for your training plan.  Talk to your doctor.

·          On second thought, for anyone with diabetes, get some exercise every day.  Walking is great.  Biking is great.  Anything’s great.  Buy that heart rate monitor.  You’ll be surprised how self-motivating it is. 

·          Train like the athlete you can be!  But . . . ramp up your training gradually.  Don’t go out and do it all at once today.  Cycling is great for training to beat diabetes because it’s low-impact on your joints.  Cycling is very good for your knees--but you need to increase miles and effort gradually, and keep up your cadence (spinning the pedals) so you don’t overstress your knees before they’re ready to climb mountains.

·          Bikes are ideal for exercise for nearly all of us—with or without diabetes—because almost everyone can ride a bike.  Stationary bikes count, too, after all.  You can watch TV or read the newspaper or a book while you’re on a stationary bike—but get a heart rate monitor so you can watch it and make sure you’re getting some exercise (and not too much, either).  If you buy a new stationary bike, we recommend getting a highly adjustable one (like the bikes in Spinning classes), and getting it set up right so it’ll be good for your knees. Then set up your saddle high enough.

·          If your bike isn’t stationary, you must wear a helmet.  Period.

·          Buy some real honest-to-goodness bike shorts with a pad inside.  (Buy mountain-bike shorts if you’re embarrassed by Lycra.  But why be embarrassed?  We’re all in this together.) 

·          Bikes are great for social time.  —We repeat, get together riding instead of eating.  Get out and see folks!  And meet new friends—everyone on a bike will say Hi! or wave. 

·          When you get on a bike, you’ll be amazed you forgot how much you like to ride.

·          Ask for help if you don’t know how to buy a bike, or to find a bike club or a riding group if you’re interested.  When you buy a bike, go to a real bike shop so you’ll get fitted properly.



·          A training program does also include a nutrition plan.  –About six months before each of his Tour de France victories, Lance Armstrong weighed everything he ate to make sure he was following his plan—and he’s not diabetic! 

·          It’s important to lose weight by exercise and portion control if you’re overweight—whether you’re diabetic or not.  If you’re not diabetic, it’ll reduce your chances of getting it, and if you’re diabetic you’ll reduce risk of complications, reduce medications—and, potentially, eliminate your diabetes symptoms.

·          About that eating thing:  food really is just fuel.  One really effective way to lose weight is to write down everything you eat—that’s painful in one respect, but really simple in another.  Another way is to just reduce fat intake:  in the Diabetes Prevention Program study, pre-diabetics lost 5-7% of their weight (and reduced their risk of getting diabetes by 58%) just by exercising moderately and restricting their fat intake to 25% of their total calories.  —You really can learn to like fat-free milk, and you really don’t need dressing on your salad or butter on your bread.  Trust us.  We haven’t put butter on anything in years, and we’re not lacking in happiness!

·          If you can think of food as fuel, and try to balance your fuel intake with your fuel needs, you’ll be doing far better than almost everyone in the U.S.  The important points are that it’s good not to eat a lot of junk food, it’s good to be aware of the glycemic index of foods (—how fast some “starches” raise blood sugars will startle you), and it’s good to put less food on your plate—because you’ll eat less that way without effort.

·          Drink lots of water.  And make sure you eat at least five fruits and veggies a day—and we don’t mean catsup!  (But it’s OK to skip the brussel sprouts.)  For more nutrition info, see the American Dietetics Association’s website at 



·          Get the kids off the video games and on bikes—by riding with them.  It’ll be good for you and the kids.  It’s terrifying that diabetes is becoming so prevalent that more than one out of every three babies born today in the U.S. will end up with diabetes.  Unlucky genes are unlucky genes, but we can reverse the trend of increasing diabetes by getting exercise and eating smart.



Can you really do this?


Just ask yourself, who’s the toughest person you know?  Then give yourself some credit here—think of all the things you’ve been through.  All the problems you’ve faced.  All the worries spinning around in your head . . . .  You are the toughest person you know!  And you can change the outcome of the race against diabetes!  Grab your family and take ‘em out for a bike ride or fast walk, and challenge them to race you!