Bill Clinton has been flashing his charm on TV lately, talking about cheaper drug prices for African AIDS sufferers. It is a most worthwhile cause, but a remote one. In New York City, where Mr. Clinton maintains his rather grand, publicly-paid-for headquarters, an even more lethal and more neglected epidemic pleads for his good offices.
Eight hundred thousand New Yorkers are suffering from diabetes. All told, 21 million Americans have the disease. Doctors estimate that another 45 million are pre-diabetic. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention anticipates that one out of every three children born in the United States will contract this fatal malady.
Diabetes causes heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, loss of circulation leading to gangrene and amputation of feet, legs and hands. It destroys the nervous system, leaving people in continuous, excruciating pain, and it robs them of the power to fight off infectious disease. As a public health problem, it dwarfs diseases like AIDS by orders of magnitude, but gets scant attention. Did you know that the colour of the diabetes ribbon is gray? Have you ever seen one?
Five to 10 percent of diabetics inherit the disease. For everybody else who has it-and that is, to repeat, tens of millions-this killer is preventable. No drugs are needed to protect people from diabetes, which is unfortunate since in the free-market world there is no money to be made in keeping people healthy. Fortunes are to be made, however, by letting people contract diabetes and then tethering them to a dialysis machine. Profit aplenty is to be found chopping off feet and selling drugs for heart disease.
Where are the big bucks in diabetes prevention when all that is involved is teaching people to eat right and exercise? Where is the money in that unless you own a gymnasium?
In the land of the free, the brave and the sick, the more money you have, the greater the odds are that you eat right and exercise enough to have no worries about diabetes. This is a disease of low- and middle-income people. They are the ones who live off factory-made food loaded with the grease and sugar from which American people are sickening at an ever younger age.
At home and at school, children are habituated to eating what will kill them. There is profit in poisoning the population, and lethal food peddling, unlike lethal drug peddling, is legal. A go-getting, job-creating ad agency entrepreneur can make a hell of a lot of money teaching children how to grow fat and kill themselves.
In Canada, Australia, and England, they …