diabetes workplace wellness

Cost-Effective Approaches to Diabetes Prevention: Report

Last week we noted a Reuters piece addressing the global diabetes cost: “The number of people living with diabetes has tripled since 2000, pushing the global cost of the disease to $850 billion a year.”

Helping reduce companies’ health costs is a major goal of well-run workplace wellness programs, and within that effort, a focus on diabetes and prediabetes is key.

The Reuters piece continues: “The latest estimates from the International Diabetes Federation mean that one in 11 adults worldwide have the condition, which occurs when the amount of sugar in the blood is too high.”

The International Diabetes Federation also offers a very useful paper that outlines “Cost-effective solutions for the prevention of type 2 diabetes.” The report offers insights that can be useful as businesses and individuals consider ways to address chronic disease costs.

According to the report, “Despite these alarming statistics, cost-effective solutions exist to reduce the global burden that diabetes currently poses. Much can be done to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes, as outlined in this “Cost-effective solutions for the prevention of type 2 diabetes” report, published by IDF to provide an overview of the latest evidence on the different programmes available to tackle the rise of the most prevalent form of diabetes. The wide range of options presented and their cost-saving implications give cause for optimism that the current situation can be reversed.”

The report continues: Intensive lifestyle modification, involving the adoption of healthy diets and increased physical activity, remains the cornerstone for the prevention of type 2 diabetes. This report discusses in detail the components of a successful lifestyle modification programme, the benefits of using certain medications for primary prevention, and provides an analysis of different public health measures to promote healthier behaviours.”

Importantly, the study notes: “Studies comparing the cost-effectiveness of group interventions versus individual counseling showed that those delivered to groups of participants were more cost-effective.”

Among the recommendations:

  • Comprehensive lifestyle programmes for people with impaired glucose tolerance, that are cost-effective from a health system perspective, and potentially cost-saving from a societal perspective.
  • Local adaptations of comprehensive lifestyle programmes are good alternatives for lower- resource settings, as they can reduce the overall costs of programme provision, while still ensuring clinical effectiveness. Such adaptations may include optimising the number of activities and implementing group sessions rather than individual- level interventions
  • Public health measures to promote healthier diets, such as a tax on sugar sweetened beverages, show promising results regarding cost-e ectiveness for primary preventions of type 2 diabetes.