Diabetes and obesity have evolved from a national public health concern to a problem of epidemic proportions. Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity and physical inactivity, accounts for 90 to 95 percent of diabetes cases for people over 40. Moreover, in 2007 an estimated 57 million American adults had “pre-diabetes,” the precursor to diabetes. Childhood obesity, which has more than tripled in the last three years, impacts these numbers because obese children are at greater risk of developing diabetes as an adult.
Costs associated with diabetes exceeded $174 billion in 2007. Prevention, treatment and management of the condition are primarily based on health behaviors, so it can be challenging to identify effective treatment and prevention efforts.
What models exist to prevent and manage diabetes, and how can they be more widely implemented? How long will it take to identify programs that are proven effective? Is there evidence that improved treatment of diabetes can reduce costs? Or will it increase costs? How can we identify those at risk as children so that they can be taught healthy behaviors, encouraged to engage in more active lifestyles, and supported in these efforts.
To address these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and the United Health Foundation sponsored a July 23 briefing. Panelists were: Lynne Vaughn of the YMCA, Robert Berenson of the Urban Institute and Ron Ackermann of the Indiana University School of Medicine. Ed Howard of the Alliance and Deneen Vojta of the UnitedHealth Group co-moderated.
Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)