Fighting diabetes in the workplace and at home

Fighting diabetes can mean lower health insurance and other personnel-related costs for employers as well as healthier employees and residents.

The disease affects almost 26 million Americans and is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who discussed the disease in observance of November as National Diabetes Month and Nov. 14 as World Diabetes Day. Another 79 million adults may have pre-diabetes, she adds.

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations not caused by injury, and new cases of blindness among adults in the United States, Sebelius says. It also is a major cause of heart disease and stroke.

“Encouraging research shows that taking small steps, such as adding vegetables and fruits to your diet and getting 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days a week, can help manage type 2 diabetes and improve health,” the secretary says. “These lifestyle changes can support weight loss, which can go a long way in helping a person at high risk for type 2 diabetes delay or prevent its onset.”

Here are some additional tips based on information from Sebelius:

  • Incorporate diabetes prevention and management solutions into the workplace. In long-term care, dietary and exercise programs are natural focuses involving resident care, and a corporate environment that supports and encourages healthful eating and exercising can aid employees.
  • Remember that preventive care is critical to improving health and identifying early signs of the disease or risk factors. Under the Affordable Care Act, those at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes can receive diabetes screening, diet counseling and obesity screening at no out-of-pocket cost. Additionally, screening for gestational diabetes is available at no additional charge for pregnant women.
  • In your personal life, involve your entire family. Cook a balanced meal. Share a brisk walk. Talk with your family about your health and your family’s diabetes risk. Encourage similar actions among residents and their families.

You can obtain more information about helping to prevent diabetes among your employees, co-workers, residents and yourself from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Diabetes Prevention Program, the National Diabetes Education Program (a partnership of the National Institutes of Health and the CDC) and the American Diabetes Association.

And please share with me any plans your facility has for observing National Diabetes Month as well as any tips you have for promoting healthful eating and exercising.

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Topics: Activities , Clinical , Executive Leadership , Nutrition