American Diabetes Association Applauds Congressional Support for the National Diabetes Prevention Program

Alexandria ,
July 27, 2011

The American Diabetes Association applauds Representatives Susan Davis (D, CA-53) and Reid Ribble (R, WI-8) for leading the way in calling for a federal investment in the National Diabetes Prevention Program, a nationwide resource of community-based programs that work to Stop Diabetes®.  The representatives, along with 101 bipartisan members of Congress, sent a letter to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, of the Department of Health and Human Services, calling attention to the diabetes epidemic and the vital role that the National Diabetes Prevention Program plays in protecting the health of our nation.

“The American Diabetes Association is proud to stand with Congress to call attention to the needed investment in the National Diabetes Prevention Program,” said Robert R. Henry, MD, President, Medicine & Science, American Diabetes Association. “Diabetes is a serious and costly disease, but research has demonstrated that with certain lifestyle interventions, type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. This program is a win-win—improving health and quality of life while reducing long-term health care spending —and it is vital in our efforts to Stop Diabetes.”

Diabetes is a growing epidemic that is taking a devastating physical, emotional and financial toll on our country.  Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes and another 79 million have prediabetes, putting them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.  This serious illness and its complications, including prediabetes and gestational diabetes, cost our nation an estimated $218 billion annually and is a threat to both the health and fiscal stability of the country.

“With millions of Americans at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, we have the ability to give them the hope and knowledge to make the healthy choices necessary to prevent diabetes.” said Rep. Davis. “The National Diabetes Prevention Program is designed after a proven program.  I’m proud of the strong showing from House members on the need to jumpstart this program and take a proactive role in diabetes prevention.”

Though the statistics are alarming, the National Diabetes Prevention Program provides the tools and resources needed to help fight this epidemic. Passed into law in 2010, the National Diabetes Prevention Program has been found to dramatically reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The program is based on the successful outcome of a groundbreaking clinical trial, the Diabetes Prevention Program, carried out by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease at the National Institute of Health. This study found that with lifestyle changes and moderate weight loss, individuals with prediabetes can reduce risk for type 2 diabetes by 58 percent and in people over 60, the number rose to 71 percent.

The goal of the National Diabetes Prevention Program is to prevent diabetes by building a national network of community programs to offer support and guidance to those at risk. It is designed to bring this evidence-based lifestyle intervention into communities to prevent diabetes. Currently operating as a public-private partnership, a strong federal investment is needed to allow this program to become a true national network capable of reaching the majority of Americans at risk. A true federal investment in this program will result in improved health for millions of Americans and also yield significant cost savings.  In a 2009 report, the Urban Institute predicted the country could save as much as $190 billion over 10 years by bringing this community-based diabetes prevention program to scale.  As much as 75 percent of the savings are projected to be recouped by Medicare and Medicaid.

“Having a family member with diabetes has certainly increased my awareness and concern for this disease. As a member of Congress, I now have the platform and opportunity to work with the amazing people at the American Diabetes Association who are dedicated in helping the millions living with diabetes,” said Rep. Ribble. “I strongly support the National Diabetes Prevention Program because it is a groundbreaking program that incentivizes people in the prevention of this disease through exercise and a healthy, balanced diet. I believe the National Diabetes Prevention Program has the potential to not only change lifestyles and decrease future healthcare costs, but most importantly save lives and give families hope for a longer future with their loved ones."

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.