Tom Hanks' disclosure that he has type 2 diabetes spotlights one of this country's most troubling health dilemmas: a national diabetes epidemic.
Hanks, 57, revealed that he has type 2 diabetes on Monday night's Late Show with David Letterman. He says he has been battling high blood sugar numbers since he was 36. Other stars, including Sherri Shepherd, Halle Berry, Paula Deen, Patti LaBelle and Drew Carey, also have been diagnosed with the disease.
"There's no question that the growth of diabetes both in the United States and around the world is at epidemic proportions," says Robert Ratner, the chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association. He's an endocrinologist and diabetologist.
Although Ratner doesn't know Hanks' case, he says type 2 diabetes tends to run in families.
The current environment that promotes a sedentary lifestyle and is rich in calorie-dense foods "has truly conspired against us when it comes to diabetes," he says.