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.
Solid evidence has shown that early and aggressive intervention can reverse the disease’s course for people with prediabetes and reduce its devastating impact on people already diagnosed. Lifestyle changes and a 5- to 7-percent weight reduction can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent in people with prediabetes.The Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance (DPCA) is an employer- and community-based initiative aimed at tipping the scales against the epidemic of type 2 diabetes, prediabetes and obesity. The DPCA was launched in April 2010 through a partnership with UnitedHealth Group and the Y of the USA. It has since expanded to include Albertsons, Cub Pharmacy, Kroger, Rite Aid, Safeway, Shop n Save and Winn-Dixie. One or both DPCA core programs, the Diabetes Prevention Program and the Diabetes Control Program, are available at no out-of-pocket cost to participants enrolled in employer-provided health insurance plans in select markets through UnitedHealthcare and Medica, They are:
- The Diabetes Prevention Program, which is an innovative lifestyle coaching program conducted in a group setting through the Y that helps people with prediabetes and who are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes prevent or delay the onset of the disease through healthy eating, increased physical activity, and other lifestyle changes. It is a year-long program with 16 weekly sessions and then monthly follow-up. The program is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and
- The Diabetes Control Program, which offers private, one-on-one consultation with pharmacists who provide education and support to help people with diabetes better control their condition and reduce the risk of developing complications from diabetes.