On Wednesday, a group of diabetes advocacy and business organizations, under the umbrella of Novo Nordisk’s National Changing Diabetes Program (NCDP), announced an ambitious goal: By 2015, they want 45% of Americans who are at risk for Type 2 diabetes to know their blood glucose level and what actions they can take to lower their risk of developing diabetes.
This translates to 59 million adults knowing their blood glucose levels by 2015. Right now, only 17% of at-risk Americans—or 22 million adults—know this information according to the NCDP’s new “national benchmark survey,” conducted by Gallup.
The Gallup survey, also released this week, was designed to assess public knowledge and perceptions of diabetes. It gathered data from over 2,000 interviews of a cross section of Americans age 18 and over that were conducted in June and July of 2007. The survey found that 24% of adults have been diagnosed by a doctor as having diabetes or being at risk for it, and another 47% believe they may be at risk even though they have not been diagnosed. Half of the people interviewed said that they felt personally affected by diabetes. Almost all people surveyed (94%) considered diabetes to be a serious issue, and 83% believed that a person can take steps to prevent it. But many fewer people (16% to 20%) knew that maintaining a healthy weight, losing weight, and/or exercising regularly were measures a person could take to prevent or delay diabetes.
This survey was the first of three planned studies that will make up the “National Diabetes Triple Barometer,” which is meant to benchmark the state of diabetes in the United States. This first study was called the “Societal Barometer,” and the other planned studies are an “Economic Barometer” (which will study costs and reimbursement policies) and a “Clinical Barometer” (which will look at how diabetes care quality is measured).
Many advocacy organizations, such as the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), are supporting the National Diabetes Goal; you can see a complete list of advocacy and business organizations that are involved here. You can find out more about the National Diabetes Goal at www.nationaldiabetesgoal.com.
So, what can you do to help advance the National Diabetes Goal? The NCDP identifies three steps that people should take. (If you’re already diagnosed with diabetes, pass this advice along to your friends and family members who aren’t).
- Find out if you are at risk for Type 2 diabetes;
- On your next visit to your health-care provider, ask about getting your blood glucose checked;
- Learn your blood glucose number and what actions to take next.
One of the slogans of the National Diabetes Goal is
“Awareness of diabetes is not the problem; it’s time to motivate action.” Getting informed about the steps you can take to prevent or control diabetes will help you take this action.
Whether you’re at risk for diabetes or have been diagnosed with it, making lifestyle changes—losing weight if you need to and increasing physical activity—is the first step toward both preventing diabetes and controlling it and preventing its complications. Our article “What Is Diabetes?” and the other articles in the “Diabetes Basics” section of our Web site can give you the information you need to understand diabetes and start making changes in your life. And if you’re looking for information on a specific subject, you can also always use our search box to find answers to your questions.
What kind of action are you taking?