According to a major new study by State-funded health promotion group Safefood, the obesity epidemic in Ireland is costing the State over €1.1 billion in direct health costs and indirect costs such as absenteeism. This is the first time researchers have put a price tag on the cost of obesity in Ireland. The report highlights that the direct cost of treating people who are obese and overweight is almost €400 million annually. Indirect costs, in the form of illnesses, absenteeism and premature deaths, account for the remaining €700 million. Yet it is accepted that these costs are themselves conservative as they do not allow for mental health costs made conservative assumptions about the number of years of life lost due to weight-related problems. Given that the prevalence of obesity is dramatically increasing in both children and adults the costs society and the economy in future years will be significantly higher.
In regard to obesity, the subject of the Safefood report, it is now accepted that high fat feeding and obesity induce endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in liver, which suppresses insulin production and contributes to diabetes.
Recent research by the Russian Academy of Sciences presented clear evidence that fluoride also induces endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a cellular compartment responsible for multiple important cellular functions including the biosynthesis and folding of newly synthesized proteins destined for secretion, such as insulin. Accumulating evidence suggests that ER stress plays a role in the pathogenesis of diabetes, contributing to pancreatic β-cell loss and insulin resistance. ER stress has also importantly been linked obesity and insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes. Disturbances in the normal functions of the ER lead to cell death if ER dysfunction is severe or prolonged. Important roles for ER-initiated cell death pathways have been recognized for several other diseases, including hypoxia, ischemia/reperfusion injury, neuro-degeneration, heart disease, and diabetes.
Further studies have shown that fluoride exposure may contribute to impaired glucose tolerance or increased blood glucose. ,, Researchers Menoyo et al. and Lin et al. demonstrated the effect of fluoride on glucose metabolism using in vivo and in vitro experimental models and confirmed that biologically relevant doses of fluoride result in impairment of an oral glucose tolerance test and decreased insulin synthesis.
When one examines statistics within fluoridated countries such as the U.S. it is equally interesting to discover that the Hawaii the state with the lowest incidence of water fluoridation also has the lowest incidence of dental fluorosis, the second lowest incidence of obesity next to Alaska and is also ranked in the lowest states for diabetes and asthma, a disease characterised by inflammation of the airways.
The statistics for diabetes are particularly interesting as native Hawaiians have more than twice the rate of diabetes as Whites. The percentage of adult Whites/Asian over the age of 18 diagnosed with diabetes in Hawaii is 1.2% compared to the National average for the general public in the U.S.A of 7%.
It is no surprise therefore where fluoride is a risk factor in both diabetes and obesity to see such a high incidence of both such diseases in countries where water fluoridation may not practiced but where the resident populations are exposed to dietary fluoride levels similar if not higher than in fluoridated North America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland.
The prevalence of diabetes internationally is similar in pattern to that for obesity with typically greater prevalence being found in either naturally high or artificially fluoridated countries.