Dr. Emily Cooper of the Diabesity Research Foundation joined KING 5 Morning News to discuss new research on a variety of health topics, from fast food to diabetes to Alzheimer's disease.

What does new research tell us about fast food consumption in the U.S.?

There's a new report from the CDC about fast food consumption in children and adolescents, age 2-19. Researchers report that fast food consumption in our country has not really increased since 2006, and the older the child, the more they tend to consume.

There was no significant difference in the amount of fast food consumed based on gender, poverty status or even weight status, which might surprise many people. Interestingly, Asian-American children consumed significantly less fast food compared to Caucasian, African-American and Hispanic children.


As so many other studies you've shared also tell us, we can't blame being overweight on higher junk food consumption. What else did you find?

You may have heard about the new report on type 2 diabetes and prediabetes published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers from the NIH and CDC found that about 14 percent of adults in the US has type 2 diabetes but certain groups showed a 20 percent incidence, including Asian-Americans, Hispanics and African-Americans.

Is diabetes often undiagnosed?

Yes, on average 1/3 are undiagnosed and it's even worse in certain groups. Half of Asian-Americans and Hispanics with type 2 diabetes are undiagnosed. Since type 2 diabetes starts with pre-diabetes, it's important to get diagnosed early when diabetes can still be prevented. This report found that more than 1/3 of the US adult population has prediabetes, which is also largely undiagnosed. That brings the current total of adults with either full blown type 2 diabetes or prediabetes to 50 percent, and these conditions are on the rise regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status or education level. 

So know your numbers!  Ask your doctor for these tests every year.  

That's a huge concern and a reason to get screened today! What else is new?

Another JAMA study published this month relates to Alzheimer's disease prevention. Researchers found that in people with insulin resistance, brain glucose metabolism was impaired and performance on memory tests declined.  The study suggested that midlife might be a critical time to treat insulin resistance to preserve brain glucose metabolism and cognitive function. This could be important for prevention of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.

Other studies have also shown a relationship between Alzheimer's and brain glucose and insulin. Several studies are underway examining whether common diabetes medications can potentially be beneficial in prevention or treatment of dementia.