Date of Award


Degree Type



Exercise Science

Director of Thesis

Norma Frizzell

First Reader

Gerardo Piroli

Second Reader

Gerardo Piroli


In the United States 29.1 million people have diabetes, or 1 out of every 11 people. The rate of new cases of diagnosed diabetes has begun to fall, but the numbers are still very high. 86 million people are living with prediabetes, a serious health condition that increases a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and other chronic diseases (1). Unfortunately, 90% of those 86 million people are unaware that they are at risk. The health and economic costs for both types of diabetes are enormous: more than 20% of health care spending is committed to people with diagnosed diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by an inability to use insulin, a hormone released by the pancreas in response to feeding, properly. Under normal circumstances insulin allows glucose to enter cells, where it can be used for energy production. When the body cannot use insulin effectively, glucose accumulates in the blood and pervades tissues that do not require insulin for glucose uptake, including the retina, kidneys and nerves. High blood sugar levels can lead to heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and the amputation of toes, feet, or legs as a result of cumulative damage over time. Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States in 2013, and is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations and adult-onset blindness (1).

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© 2017, Dominique Jacobs