Full Frame: Fight Against Juvenile Diabetes and Obesity

Full Frame

Sugar Ray LeonardBoxing Legend Sugar Ray Leonard

This week on Full Frame, why are childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes so high in the U.S.? Boxing Legend Sugar Ray Leonard works to raise funds to find a cure for diabetes with The Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation.

Newsmaker: Sugar Ray Leonard, Stepping Up to a New Fight

The obesity epidemic that has swept the United States in recent years is now impacting children all across the country. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that obesity is responsible for 160,000 “excess” deaths every year.  One of the very tangible consequences of this epidemic has been the rise in juvenile diabetes — one third of all children born after 2000 in the United States are now at risk for suffering from diabetes in their lifetime.

Even before the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, launched her Let’s Move! initiative against childhood obesity, there was someone else leading the fight. Full Frame Newsmaker and boxing legend, Sugar Ray Leonard, and his wife Bernadette, started The Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation in 2009, working to raise funds to find a cure for Juvenile Diabetes.

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The six-time boxing world champion watched his dad and friends struggle with the many complications of diabetes and has committed himself to bringing attention to this growing threat against the well-being of the next generation of Americans. His foundation provides funding for various research projects aimed at combating the pervasive disease. Through the foundation’s annual “Big Fighters, Big Cause” Charity Boxing Night, held this year on May 20th, more than 1,500 high-profile individuals have joined Sugar Ray to raise funds and awareness for Juvenile Diabetes Research.


In-Depth: Real World Solutions for Childhood Obesity and Juvenile Diabetes

Type-2 diabetes used to be known by another name: adult-onset diabetes. Until recently, almost all children suffering from diabetes suffered were diagnosed with the type-1 form of the disease, which means their bodies could not produce enough insulin. Type-2 diabetes, in which the pancreas may produce normal insulin levels but cells become resistant to it, typically took decades to develop.

All of that has now changed. There is now a global “emerging epidemic” of type-2 juvenile diabetes. Experts estimate that type-2 diabetes has grown from less than 5 percent in 1994 to about 20 percent of all newly diagnosed cases of the disease among youth in recent years. The cause? Most health care providers say that there is a direct link between this emerging epidemic and the rise in childhood obesity.

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The stereotype of everyone in Los Angeles being model-thin and obsessed with the latest health fad is in sharp contrast with the lifestyle of many of the 650,000 students that David Binkle feeds as the Director of Food Services at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Noting an alarming increase in childhood obesity between 2001 and 2008, Binkle decided to replace chicken nuggets, tater tots, and nachos in school cafeterias with edamame, teriyaki chicken bowls, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Eighty percent of the students in the LAUSD live in neighborhoods that have been designated as “food deserts,” areas where the corner liquor store or deli is the only place to purchase food and fresh produce is often hard to find.

Dr. Steven Mittelman, director of the new Diabetes and Obesity Program at The Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, is also working to improve the health and wellness of children in LA, but with a more research-based and clinical approach. The Saban Research Institutes’ programs focus on the individual child. In their community-based programs, Mittelman studies the link between cancer and obesity and the impact on entire populations.

Dr. Mittelman and David Binkle join Full Frame’s Mike Walter to speak about their latest efforts in the fight against childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes.


Dr. Steven Mittelman and David Binkle


Panel: Dr. Ida Chen and Scott Chan are Fighting Obesity and Diabetes in China and Chinese communities worldwide

Diabetes is crossing borders and reaching epidemic levels in the world’s largest population. Of the 1.3 billion people living in China today, 114 million of them – or nearly 12% of the adult population – now have diabetes, according to a new study published by The Journal of American Medical Association. In fact, China is now home to one-third of the world’s diabetes sufferers and has the world’s biggest diabetes epidemic.

Medical experts cite the rapid development of China as a modern society as the lead cause of the diabetes epidemic. Popular Western fast food and convenience foods have replaced traditional Chinese cuisine in many households and a more sedentary lifestyle has led to bikes and pedestrians on the streets of Beijing being replaced with cars.

Dr. Ida Chen, the Director of Biochemistry and Molecular Phenotyping at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, and Scott Chan, Program Director for the Asian Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance, join Full Frame this week to discuss their innovative research and grassroots programs aimed at helping Asian communities worldwide fight the diabetes epidemic. Scott Chan works with Pacific Islander communities fighting obesity in Los Angeles and Dr. Chen specializes in insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes in the Chinese population.  


Dr. Ida Chen and Scott Chan


Essay: YUM Chefs – Getting Kids Excited To Eat Their Veggies

Getting children excited about food and nutrition is not always an easy task. Located in the Mission District of San Francisco, and led by Chef Leah Brooks, YUM Chefs (Young, Urban, Modern Chefs) teaches students as young as five years-old how to cook. The skills YUM chefs acquire exceed a new found appreciation for eating their “veggies.” Classes range from making fresh pasta to culinary projects that the entire family can enjoy together – all using fresh, local ingredients.  Full Frame visits YUM Chefs in San Francisco this week to cook along with the young chefs.  

YUM Chefs teaches children how to cook healthy meals.

YUM Chefs teaches children how to cook healthy meals.

Tune in to Full Frame on CCTV America at 8:00 pm EDT on June 7, 2014. Or watch the live stream of the program here.