This Saturday, November 14, as we mark World Diabetes Day, it’s absolutely vital that we acknowledge the incredible toll this chronic disease has on the United States and identify steps to fighting for our health – our individual health and our economic health. At the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) we’re also calling on political candidates to tell us how they will begin to tackle this important economic and societal challenge. What better opportunity for Democratic presidential candidates then on World Diabetes Day to address this important question as they face off in their next debate in Iowa.
More than 29 million Americans – or 9.3 percent of the population – have diabetes. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Another 86 million adults – more than one in three U.S. adults – have prediabetes, where their blood sugar levels are higher than normal … Without weight loss and moderate physical activity, 15 percent to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.”
In Iowa, where Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley will debate this weekend, 56 percent of patients have at least one chronic condition. The risks that stem from unhealthy lifestyle choices are also glaring. In Iowa, 67 percent of adults are overweight or obese, 40 percent eat less than one fruit a day, 27 percent eat less than 1 vegetable a day, and 19.5 percent smoke cigarettes.
Diabetes costs the economy an estimated $245 billion. The CDC also notes, “Medical costs for people with diabetes are twice as high as for people without diabetes.”
We can do better. We can fight for health. It starts with healthier choices that can prevent diseases like diabetes. Doing this will help Americans live healthier, more fulfilled lives, and will have the added benefit of improving health care costs and strengthening our economy. Join the conversation and call on politicians to address the issue of chronic disease by using #fight4health on social media.