Type 2 diabetes most commonly results when someone with a genetic predisposition to the condition who is obese and physically inactive, said Carla Wolper, senior clinical nutritionist at the New York Obesity Research Center at St. Luke's Hospital in Manhattan.
"Diabetes is the most expensive illness to treat," said Wolper. "It does not go away and requires drugs every day, and often many drugs. ... The obesity and diabetes in the U.S. is costing us all a fortune, and causing health insurance costs to skyrocket. Should Paula Deen lose a lot of weight and influence others to do so, and should she show those who watch her show how to do it, she could become a goddess."
Deen acknowledged that she hopes to spread awareness and help others fight the illness. She has already made small dietary changes and has worked more exercise into her day.
"I wasn't trying to lose weight," she told USA Today. "I don't even own a scale. I go strictly by the way I feel and the way my clothes feel." When she's out, she said people often say, "Gosh, you're not nearly as fat in person."
Despite her efforts, she acknowledged that she might be at the butt end of criticism and jokes after her announcement, but she's unfazed.
"I don't care what the haters and naysayers say," Deen told the newspaper. "If they make jokes about me, I'll laugh because they'll probably be funny."