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Governor appoints Cape resident to council

By Staff | Sep 4, 2008

A Cape Coral resident and forensic investigator with the District 21 Medical Examiner’s Office was appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist to the Diabetes Advisory Council on Tuesday.

Brett Harding, 45, joins 12 other appointees who will advise the governor and the Florida surgeon general on diabetes. The council also advises the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program, a program funded by the Centers for Disease Control, and the group recommends any legislation or policy that will benefit Floridians with diabetes.

Besides working as a forensic investigator, Harding is an adjunct professor at Edison State College and Florida Gulf Coast University. His appointment will end on July 1, 2011.

Other appointees from across the state included a physician, an attorney, educators, a government consultant and a juvenile probation officer.

“It is quite an honor,” said Harding on Tuesday. “I thank the governor for considering me to do that.”

In the past Harding worked as a transplant coordinator, which may have factored into the governor’s decision to appoint him to the council. He said diabetes is the number one reason for kidney transplantation.

“I frequently see people who, through lifestyle choices or other things, have died as a result of this,” he said.

On the council he will work with the other members to make recommendations to combat diabetes, he said.

“I believe it is a growing problem because what I’ve seen in the Medical Examiner’s Office is Floridians getting larger and with carrying that extra weight, more people are suffering diabetes,” Harding said.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, obesity is linked to diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Furthermore, an obese parent can affect his or her child’s health. If one parent is overweight, his or her child is 40 percent more likely to be overweight, while if both parents are overweight that increases to 80 percent.

Sixty-five percent of obese children ages 5 to 10 are at risk for cardiovascular disease, according to Pediatrics in Review.

On the other hand, through physical fitness and good nutrition, diabetic children and adults can prevent certain complications associated with the disease.

Unfortunately, only 50 percent of young people throughout the country are staying active, while 25 percent report that they never participate in any physical activity.

Americans have also become much more sedentary with the average number of time spent watching television each day more than doubling since 1970 from one hour to more than four.