Fran Kaufman, M.D

Experts now predict that more than one-third of American children born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime. Written by one of the world’s leading authorities on the link between obesity and diabetes, this passionate, frightening–but ultimately hopeful–book points the way to a solution. To enter Dr. Francine Kaufman’s clinic is to see the future of America: a 220-pound twelve-year-old boy…a 267-pound thirteen-year-old girl…their concerned but equally overweight parents…the human faces and human suffering behind the epidemic of type 2 diabetes that threatens to overwhelm our health care system. Once a disease of the elderly, type 2 diabetes now strikes adults in their prime–and, increasingly, children. It has nearly doubled in the last decade. The cause? Our soaring rates of obesity. Diabesity takes us to the front lines of the fight against this preventable but deadly disease. Through vivid patient stories, it explains how excess weight destroys the body’s ability to process sugar properly–with life-threatening consequences. It shows what happens when the genes that evolved to protect us from famine collide with a sedentary lifestyle that has put bacon cheeseburgers on every corner. And it demonstrates why our usual blame-the-victim response is futile in face of the complex, worldwide forces behind this epidemic. Detailing the tools for change at every level–from families to school systems to government–and reporting on innovative programs that are already making a difference, Diabesity offers a compelling action plan for winning this battle.

Diabesity by Fran Kaufman, M.D., is more than just a book about the epidemic of type 2 diabetes brought on by the epidemic of obesity. In the first third of the book, Dr. Kaufman introduces us to her family and its history, and she discusses people she’s known with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Sadly, she covers the many complications and problems that can occur when diabetes isn’t well controlled. But the focus of the book is on the combined problem of type 2 diabetes brought on by obesity, especially in children. Dr. Kaufman examines our genetic heritage that puts us all at risk, especially when combined with the way we eat (fast food and larger portion sizes) and sedentary lifestyle. Reading Diabesity is like sitting down and chatting with Fran for hours about her passion — helping people with diabetes to live as well as possible. And I’m up for that anytime.

— Jeff Hitchcock

Published by Bantam Books (Random House). $27 hardcover. ISBN 0553803840.2005

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