The American Diabetes Association received $175,000 from the state Health Foundation for its National Diabetes Prevention Program.
Funds will be used to increase the referral channels for those who are at risk of developing diabetes to enroll in the into the year-long program, which helps participants make lifestyle changes such as eating healthier and incorporating physical activity into their daily lives.
“Diabetes is arguably the biggest looming health challenge in New York,” said Travis Heider, Northeast Regional Director of the American Diabetes Association, in a statement.
More than 2 million people in New York have diabetes, or some 12 percent of the population, association officials said. Some 5.4 million people, or 36 percent, have prediabetes. Diabetes complications include heart disease, stroke, amputation, end-stage kidney disease and blindness.
Type 2 diabetes is preventable in many cases.
“Diabetes threatens to overwhelm New York’s health care system and affect an entire generation. One in five health care dollars is spent caring for people with diabetes,” said Eric Bieber M.D., president and CEO of Rochester Regional Health. “We’re trying to move towards a new health care model where primary care physicians emphasize the prevention of diabetes and other chronic diseases.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention established the National Diabetes Prevention Program, which has been clinically proven to help people with diabetes to cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. People older than 60 cut their risk by 71 percent.
Rep. Thomas Reed, R-Corning, whose Southern Tier district stretches into Ontario County, is vice-chairman of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus, and co-sponsor of the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Act, which would provide Medicaid coverage for the National Diabetes Prevention Program to eligible beneficiaries determined to be at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
“One out of every three Medicare dollars is spent on diabetes,” Reed said. “By allowing Medicare to cover the DPP, we could reduce federal spending by an estimated $1.3 billion over 10 years. Most importantly, this is good for patients. It is also good for taxpayers.”
Bieber, Reed and community leaders on Friday jointly called for diabetes prevention.
For details on the program, visit diabetes.org/nydpp.
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