Sen. Carper Applauds CDC and AMA’s Prediabetes Initiative, with Delaware Leading the Way

WILMINGTON, Del. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) applauded the news that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Medical Association (AMA) are calling on the nation to focus on prediabetes as a public health crisis. This work builds upon a diabetes prevention program already underway in Delaware.

With more than 86 million Americans living with prediabetes and nearly 90 percent of them unaware of it, Prevent Diabetes STAT: Screen, Test, Act – Today™ is a multi-year initiative that expands on the work already begun to reach more Americans with prediabetes and stop the progression to type 2 diabetes, one of the nation’s most debilitating chronic diseases.

Over the past two years, both the CDC and the AMA have been laying the groundwork for this national effort, including a pilot program here in Delaware with the YMCA of Delaware’s evidence-based Diabetes Prevention Program. In December 2013, Sen. Carper convened a roundtable discussion with CDC Director Tom Frieden, and stakeholders from the AMA, the Medical Society of Delaware, hospitals, insurance companies, the state of Delaware and the medical community at the YMCA of Delaware to talk about the early success of the program and the effects of diabetes on the nation.

“We all know that obesity and diabetes are two of the main drivers of poor health and increasing health care costs in our country,” Sen. Carper said. “If we do not rein this in, this may be the first generation of Americans with a shorter life span than earlier generations. To get this epidemic under control, we need to ensure that we are supporting effective therapies and programs, like this one in Delaware through the YMCA, that might help lower our country’s obesity rates and better prevent chronic diseases like diabetes. I am so pleased that this program is working, and Delaware is among the leaders in bringing these critical efforts to the country.”

In 2012, the CDC launched its National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) based on research led by the National Institutes of Health, which showed that high-risk individuals who participated in lifestyle change programs, like those recognized by the CDC, saw a significant reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes. Today, there are more than 500 of these programs across the country.

The AMA launched its Improving Health Outcomes initiative in 2013 aimed at preventing both type 2 diabetes and heart disease. That work includes a partnership with the YMCA of the USA to increase the number of physicians who screen patients for prediabetes and refer them to diabetes prevention programs offered by local YMCAs that are part of the CDC’s recognition program. This joint effort included 11 physician practice pilot sites in four states, including one in Delaware. In the coming months, the AMA will identify more states in which to strengthen the link between the clinical care setting and communities to reduce the incidence of diabetes.

People with prediabetes have higher-than-normal blood glucose levels but are not yet considered type 2 diabetes. Research shows that 15 to 30 percent of overweight people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years unless they lose weight through healthy eating and increased physical activity.