American Diabetes Association Launches “CheckUp America” to Curb Rise in Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease

Alexandria,
April 18, 2007

A recent survey from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) found that one in five Americans 40 years and older consider important health-related lifestyle changes “too hard” to implement, indicating many are unaware that relatively small steps can be effective in reducing disease risk. In an effort to educate and empower people to take action for their health, the ADA announced today the launch of CheckUp America, a national prevention initiative aimed at helping Americans learn how to lower their risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.


“The alarming rise in conditions like obesity, high blood glucose, and high blood pressure in America demands greater efforts to educate both people and physicians about the risk factors for type 2 diabetes and heart disease,” said John Buse, MD, PhD, President-Elect, Medicine & Science, American Diabetes Association. “Through CheckUp America, the ADA will provide information and tools to help people at-risk take necessary and modest steps to reduce disease risk and live a healthier life.”


Accumulating research shows there are a number of factors that contribute to a person’s overall likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. These factors, which comprise one’s “cardiometabolic risk,” include overweight, high blood glucose, high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, high triglycerides, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, and physical inactivity. Each of these risk factors poses a danger to good health, and the more one has, the greater the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. CheckUp America will work to help people manage these factors and thereby reduce disease risk.


To help people better understand and act to lower their risk, CheckUp America is developing an online risk assessment tool, My Health Advisor. This tool, slated to be available later this year, accurately assesses a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and death. Based on an individualized assessment of a person’s self-reported health status, My Health Advisor will also suggest simple things a person can do to lower disease risk, showing them in real terms how even small steps—like losing 10 pounds—can result in big rewards when it comes to improving their health status.


“Our major goal is to dispel the myth that disease prevention requires an extraordinary effort,” said Buse. “In reality, small steps like modestly increasing physical activity can significantly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Helping individuals understand and apply this information could mean the difference between life and death.”

This survey conducted by ADA was designed to evaluate the awareness, knowledge, behaviors, and perceptions of adults with risk factors for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The omnibus study surveyed 1,446 adults nationally, 40 years and older, and the sample was divided equally between male and female respondents.


Other findings from the survey help to illuminate the status of disease risk and awareness for Americans 40 years and older. According to the research via self report, nearly 87 percent of adults in this age group are either at risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease (61%) or have been diagnosed with one of the diseases (26%). A person can help prevent disease by knowing their risk factors. Only 58 percent of at-risk adults report that they know their blood pressure level. Less than half (37% or fewer) reported knowing several other important health measures—such as blood glucose and body mass index—that can help to identify their cardiometabolic risk.


CheckUp America is the consumer component of a national outreach effort geared to reach the general public and physicians about cardiometabolic risk. To support the public awareness effort, a new public service campaign entitled “Now or Later,” which emphasizes
the urgent need for people to have regular check-ups and reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, is being launched nationwide in print, TV and radio. The cardiometabolic risk initiative is brought to you through unrestricted educational grants from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Eli Lilly and Company, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, sanofi-aventis, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America.


For more information, visit www.CheckUpAmerica.org.

The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to Stop Diabetes and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.

For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2383) or visit www.diabetes.org. Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.