Celebrity chef Paula Deen announced on January 17 that she has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and is working with a pharmaceutical company to promote a diabetes medication that she uses. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) reminds consumers that the first line of defense for the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes is a healthy diet and regular exercise.

"In fact, with the assistance of a registered dietitian, diet, exercise and weight loss can also reverse pre-diabetes, which affects an estimated 79 million people," said registered dietitian Constance Brown-Riggs, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Deen, known for her Southern cuisine and prominent use of butter and bacon in recipes, is one of 25.8 million adults and children in the United States who have diabetes, a disease that contributes to more than 230,000 deaths annually and leads to complications such as heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, nervous system disease and amputation.

In 2007, the total cost of diabetes in the United States was $218 billion, when factoring in the additional costs of undiagnosed diabetes, pre-diabetes and gestational diabetes. On average, a person diagnosed with diabetes has annual medical expenditures of $11,744, approximately 2.3 times higher than for people without diabetes.

"If you`re at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, consult a registered dietitian who can work with you to create an eating plan that fits your lifestyle," said Brown-Riggs. "Don`t wait for a diagnosis to make the lifestyle changes that can prevent diabetes and its serious complications, as well as significant medical costs."

Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at www.eatright.org to locate a registered dietitian in your area. Learn more about living with diabetes on the Academy`s Diabetes web page, and also find reviews by registered dietitians of popular diabetes management apps for smart phones.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) is the world`s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation`s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at www.eatright.org.

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Press Release