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Fight Obesity + Manage Pre-Diabetes = Prevent Diabetes

Though the association between diabetes and obesity has long been held, a recent study published in the October edition of Diabetes Care confirms that obese individuals will live a longer portion of their lives with diabetes: men for 6 years longer and women for 2.5 years longer. In fact, study author Solveig Cunningham, an assistant professor in global health at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta said "At the population level, we see increases in diabetes incidence. But, if you parse out the data by weight, almost the entirety of the increase was in the obese population. In normal-weight people, diabetes incidence was going down."

What does this mean for employers? This is yet another piece of evidence that focusing on weight loss programs and identifying and managing pre-diabetes is an effective way to prevent diabetes.

Preventing this transition to diabetes is critical because the time when an individual first gets diagnosed with full diabetes is extremely costly to employers on multiple levels.

- Absence rates increase as the employee manages visits with new doctors, diabetes educators and nutritionists.

- Productivity decreases as the employee becomes distracted by the emotional stress of the diagnosis, and the time simply spent learning about the disease and managing new treatments regimens

- Health care costs immediately increase with the cost of new therapies, treatments and screenings.

For the employer, who may not even see the long term health sequellae of diabetes, preventing these immediate costs is worth the price of pre-diabetes and obesity management.

Rebecca Dubowy, Chief Medical Officer



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