Type 2 Diabetes: Treat the Lifestyle, Not the DiseasePosted on May 2 2013

By Meg Jordan

Type 2 diabetes has reached pandemic levels throughout nations competing in the Information Age. This is a post-industrial state in which physical labor is replaced with sedentary, computer-harnessed work life, and amplified in after-work hours with seated screen time (videos, TV, computer games, web surfing, texting, tableting, etc.).

"We are engineering physical activity out of human existence," reports medical anthropologist Meg Jordan, PhD, RN, CWP, who chairs the M.A. program in Integrative Health Studies at California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. The fully accredited master's program prepares graduates to work as integrative health practitioners, wellness coaches, and change agents in the expanding fields of health promotion, wellness, and holistic health.

Jordan explains: "At the turn of the 19th to 20th centuries, the average kilocalorie expenditure of an adult in the U.S. was about 5000-7000 per day. Just 120 years later, that number is diminished to barely topping the basal metabolic rate (BMR) of 1800 (for a 150-lb individual). BMR is the rate at which life is sustained through circulation, breathing, organ functioning, peristalsis--the bare minimum."

Spending 300 calories per day at one aerobic exercise class used to be considered a sufficient workout to enhance the average work/life expenditure of calories in 1980. However, the typical day for someone strapped to a computer at both work and play has become exponentially more still.

The rise in type 2 diabetes is a multilayered, complex environmental and lifestyle consequence of a ubiquitous, non-nutritious food supply, and a loss of physical activities throughout a 16-hour waking day. The disappearance of movement is not something we are fully aware of, explains Jordan. For example, we used to get up and cross the room to change records in stereo equipment. Then we had longer playing CDs. Then we shifted to six-CD players. Next we simply put an i-Pod in a speaker and leave it on all day. That is just one tiny example of how we have to move less to accomplish something.

The May 2013 graduating class in Integrative Health at CIIS have compiled health research projects that explore:

For more information, please contact Integrative Health Studies Program Manager Kate Leahy at (415) 575-6199 or

For more information on reconfiguring approaches to type 2 diabetes care, contact Dr. Meg Jordan, PhD, RN, CWP, ay

Dr. Meg Jordan

Professor Meg Jordan, PhD, RN, CWP, is Department Chair of Integrative Health Studies and Somatic Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, where her focus is preparing graduate students as catalysts for positive change in health care, wellness and health promotion. Dr. Jordan is a clinical medical anthropologist, an award-winning international health journalist, behavioral medicine specialist, RN, author, and President of Global Medicine Enterprises, Inc.



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