America’s Oldest Teenager

Published January 1, 2004

Tan, fit, and still looking young at age 74, Dick Clark hardly looks like a poster boy for type 2 diabetes. So it came as quite a shock when the host of “American Bandstand” announced he was diagnosed with diabetes more than 10 years ago.

The fact that two-thirds of people with diabetes die of either heart disease or stroke was a wake-up call for Clark to do something about it. That “something” included teaming up with the American Association of Diabetes Educators and prescription drug maker Merck & Co.

Following his doctors’ advice, Clark now exercises 20 minutes each day to keep his cardiovascular system in good shape. Clark admits dieting has been a challenge. For the first few years after diagnosis, he kept eating everything and cleaned the plate. Now he eats the right food and less of it.

According to experts, the number of diabetics in the United States is now 18.2 million–and growing. The vast majority of them (95 percent) have type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease because high blood sugar weakens blood vessels, increasing chances for blocked arteries, heart attack, and stroke.

Current guidelines from the American Diabetes Association advise that diabetics stick to healthy diets and regular exercise and take cholesterol-lowering medications.

For more information on diabetes control call 1-800-224-4089 toll free.

IT’S YOUR HEALTH is written by Conrad Meier, senior fellow in health policy at The Heartland Institute. This program is produced as a public service by Radio America. Meier passed away unexpectedly on March 18, 2005.