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A Majority Of Americans Recognize The Threat Diabetes Poses To The Nation's Health And Have A Solid Understanding About The Disease And Its Consequences. (Graphic: UnitedHealth Group)

A majority of Americans recognize the threat diabetes poses to the nation’s health and have a solid understanding about the disease and its consequences, according to a new survey from UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH).

November is National Diabetes Month – an opportunity for people to turn awareness into action and play a part in helping to tackle the epidemic, which is taking a toll on the health and financial well-being of individuals, families, communities, businesses and the nation’s health system.

UnitedHealth Group’s national survey, conducted via telephone with more than 1,000 U.S. adults age 18 and older, found that:

  • 92 percent of respondents know there is a difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes;
  • 82 percent recognize that type 2 diabetes is largely preventable;
  • 73 percent believe they will not necessarily get diabetes just because it runs in their family;
  • 60 percent know the definition of the term “prediabetes”;
  • 84 percent are familiar with leading diabetes risk factors including: being overweight (80 percent), a family history of diabetes (76 percent), lack of exercise (74 percent), high blood pressure (59 percent), high cholesterol (58 percent), and being age 45 or older (48 percent); and
  • 85 percent have had their blood sugar level tested and know the result.

Complete survey results can be found here ( http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50470280&lang=en).

“People are taking notice that we face a public health crisis in the form of obesity, prediabetes and diabetes, so the opportunity now exists to turn awareness into actions like eating healthier, increasing physical activity, being tested for risk factors or joining prevention programs,” said Deneen Vojta, M.D., senior vice president of UnitedHealth Group and chief clinical officer of the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance (DPCA). “Our national conversation around the diabetes epidemic has entered a new era; it’s time national actions do the same.”

To learn more about what Americans have to say about the threat diabetes poses to the nation’s health, visit: www.unitedhealthgroup.com/diabetes.

Reversing a Preventable Epidemic

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are about 26 million American adults with diabetes. More than 90 percent of them suffer from type 2 diabetes, the often preventable form of the disease. Currently about 35 percent of the U.S. adult population has prediabetes, putting 79 million Americans at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization research shows that more than half of all Americans will have diabetes or prediabetes by the end of this decade.

“By 2021, about 40 million American adults will have diabetes and another 100 million will be diagnosed with prediabetes – at a cost of $3.5 trillion over the next decade,” said Tom Beauregard, executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group and executive director of the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization. “Given these figures, it’s clear there is a diabetes time bomb ticking in America, due in large part to the escalating obesity rates in our country. Practical steps can be taken, however, to defuse this time bomb.”

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