The survey, conducted by TDC Opinion Research, asked 10,000 severely overweight Americans about their attitudes toward gun violence in the wake of the recent USCB mass shooting.
It found that 73 percent of end-stage diabetes patients listed gun violence as the biggest threat to their health and survival, while 12 percent listed cancer, 7 percent listed SARS and 5 percent listed Wilson’s disease. Only 3 percent said they were likely to die from their obesity.
“The doctors say I only have six months to live, tops,” says Jack Pryor, a 48-year-old with type 2 diabetes from Bethlehem, Pa. “But the way things are going now, I’m probably going to get shot before then. We’ve got to do something about all these guns; they’re killing us.”
“I personally see 20 to 30 patients die every year from complications of diabetes and metabolic syndrome,” says Dr. Jack Ryan, chief of endocrinology at Jefferson Medical Center in Washington. “I’m tired of seeing good people die. I’m tired of telling children that they won’t ever see their mommies and daddies again. If only we could just get the guns off the street, maybe things would be different. ”
One study has found that 18 percent of all deaths in the United States are attributable to obesity, and most leading causes of death — including heart disease and cancer — have obesity as a risk factor.
Despite the grisly headlines, gun violence has been on the decline for several decades. Meanwhile the obesity epidemic is accelerating, with fully a third of Americans now considered medically obese.
Although most media analysts want the government to focus on the more emotive issue of gun ownership, some health experts have bizarrely suggested that public policy should focus on tackling problems that actually kill more people.
“I think liberals need to wake up and realize that if they’re interested in helping prevent premature deaths they should reform our food laws, not our gun laws,” says Jean Boudon, professor of medicine at Princeton University Medical School. “Soda kills more people than bullets do. It’s just that when someone dies of diabetes, it’s not breaking news on CNN.”