culture of health workplace wellness

American Diabetes Month: A Primary Focus for Well-Run Workplace Wellness Programs

November marks the annual focus on an every day global health issue — one that is a primary action area for well-run workplace wellness programs: Diabetes.

As the American Diabetes Association notes: “Nearly half of all American adults have diabetes or prediabetes, yet most don’t understand the life-long burden of this chronic illness or the 24/7 work it takes to effectively manage diabetes. This campaign asks everyone affected by diabetes—whether that means people living with diabetes, caregivers or those who are at risk of developing diabetes—to put on their capes and share how they’re taking a stand. Diabetes is a complex health condition that affects millions of people and without proper management, can lead to serious complications.”

Said the Association’s Chief Scientific, Medical and Mission Officer William T. Cefalu, MD: “People living with diabetes face enormous challenges each day to manage their diabetes and they must do so while living their normal lives. We recognize the incredible strength they show, and stand with them to help stop the diabetes epidemic. From the mom who takes her insulin shot on the way to pick up her daughter from ballet, to the businessman who prepares his mother’s meals and her diabetes medicine each day before leaving for work, the stories of everyday people who live with or love someone with diabetes remind all of us that they are heroes.”

The American Diabetes Association adds: “Unaddressed, diabetes takes a heavy toll medically, financially and individually. People with diabetes are at an increased risk for other serious health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, amputation and blindness. The economic burden of diabetes and prediabetes is $322 billion each year, and people with diabetes have health care costs that are 2.3 times higher than someone without diabetes. Yet the true cost of diabetes is in the millions of lives it touches.”

Said the Association’s Senior Vice President, Government Affairs & Advocacy, LaShawn McIver, MD, MPH: “One in 11 Americans has diabetes, a chronic disease that can often lead to serious complications and requires constant self-management. This November, we are asking people to start paying attention—to step up, suit up and join us in improving the lives of all people affected by diabetes.”

As employers consider the health benefits — and cost saves — that come from a coordinated wellness program that addresses diabetes, we should also consider the recent National Diabetes Statistics Report from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention that “more than 100 million U.S. adults are now living with diabetes or prediabetes,” the American Diabetes Association is “urging renewed attention to and investment in stemming the diabetes epidemic.”

Said the Dr. Cefalu: “Diabetes and prediabetes remain serious threats for more than one-third of Americans―the statistics are staggering. We must continue to innovate in scientific research and to translate findings to the clinical level to decrease the prevalence of diabetes. This data clearly confirms it is critical for us to continue to provide the education and support needed to improve health outcomes and decrease the daily burden of diabetes. We must reduce the incidence of diabetes and its enormous costs, including both the financial costs and the human toll  of lost quality of life and lives, to our communities across the country.”