HHS Secretary Thompson Launches First National Diabetes Prevention Campaign
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson yesterday announced the launch of the first national diabetes awareness and prevention campaign, which will promote lifestyle changes as a way to prevent the onset of adult-onset diabetes among all people, but particularly among Hispanics and other minorities, the Houston Chronicle reports (Lee, Houston Chronicle, 11/20). The campaign, called "Small Steps, Big Rewards," encourages daily physical exercise and a healthier diet to prevent Type II diabetes, which is the most common form of the disease and affects 16 million people nationwide. Further, 16 million additional people have pre-diabetes, which raises their risk of developing Type II diabetes. About one million people in the United States have Type I diabetes. The diabetes rate nationwide has grown 50% in the past decade and is expected to increase an additional 165% by 2050 if the current rate continues (HHS release, 11/20).
The campaign will target Hispanics and blacks, who are twice as likely as whites to be diagnosed with diabetes, and Native Americans, who are 2.6 times more likely than whites to be diagnosed. "We need to reach out to minorities to help them and encourage them to change their lifestyles so that everybody can lead a better quality of life," Thompson said (Houston Chronicle, 11/20). The campaign, jointly sponsored by the NIH and CDC, will be run by the National Diabetes Education Program and will include tools to help people make lifestyle changes, a kit to help care providers educate patients about diabetes, Web-based resources for providers and consumers, and public awareness announcements on TV, radio and in print media. According to Thompson, "This campaign says that there is hope for the millions of Americans who are at risk for developing diabetes. You don't have to be a marathon runner or starve yourself to prevent diabetes. You can make small changes and take small steps that translate into big rewards" (HHS release, 11/20).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.