Diabetes workplace wellness

CDC Study Shows Diabetes Differences Based on Geographic Location, Education, Race

Yesterday we reported on the latest National Diabetes Statistics Report from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The report notes that “more than 100 million U.S. adults are now living with diabetes or prediabetes,” and that “as of 2015, 30.3 million Americans – 9.4 percent of the U.S. population – have diabetes. Another 84.1 million have prediabetes, a condition that if not treated often leads to type 2 diabetes within five years.”

Diabetes prevention — and the prevention of other chronic diseases — is a key feature of well-run workplace wellness programs. Indeed, we previously reported on strategies for employers to address costs related to diabetes.

These include:

  • “Detect risk factors and disease early on.”
  • “Prevent the progression of health risk.”
  • “Help employees take control of their health.”
  • “Offer personalized programs adapted to employee needs.”

Importantly, beyond just the raw numbers, the CDC report also found key differences based on geographic location, education, race, and more.

Rates of diagnosed diabetes were higher among American Indians/Alaska Natives (15.1 percent), non-Hispanic blacks (12.7 percent), and Hispanics (12.1 percent), compared to Asians (8.0 percent) and non-Hispanic whites (7.4 percent).

Other differences include:

  • Diabetes prevalence varied significantly by education. Among U.S. adults with less than a high school education, 12.6 percent had diabetes.   Among those with a high school education, 9.5 percent had diabetes; and among those with more than a high school education, 7.2 percent had diabetes.
  • More men (36.6 percent) had prediabetes than women (29.3 percent). Rates were similar among women and men across racial/ethnic groups or educational levels.
  • The southern and Appalachian areas of the United States had the highest rates of diagnosed diabetes and of new diabetes cases.

“Consistent with previous trends, our research shows that diabetes cases are still increasing, although not as quickly as in previous years,” said Ann Albright, Ph.D., R.D., director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. “Diabetes is a contributing factor to so many other serious health conditions. By addressing diabetes, we limit other health problems such as heart disease, stroke, nerve and kidney diseases, and vision loss.”