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Are Your Diabetic Employees Ready to Train Like Professional Athletes?

Unless one is a successfully controlled diabetic, it is hard to appreciate the challenges and complexity of managing diabetes. This applies to both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics, Type 2 of course being the group that makes up the vast majority of the diabetic population at a typical employer.
In many other areas of HR management, we talk about the idea of a Skill/Will matrix. You need both the skills and the will to manage one’s diabetes. Unfortunately, even with the appropriate will or desire to succeed, the skills are so complex that success is hard to reach. That in turn drives down motivation. The cycle can rapidly spiral out of control.
When you break down the skills required to control one’s diabetes, as cited by research performed by Dr. Bill Rowley of the Institute for Alternative Futures, there emerge over 200 new skills that have to be learned. These range from how to assess nutritional content (and what that means!) to how to balance different types of exercise to how to take often complicated medications. With the exception perhaps of the medications, these skills are not unlike those that have to be mastered by professional athletes.
Professional athletes have the unique and driven desire to master nutritional and exercise regimens. They also have the skills from years working with coaches and other experts.
Can you afford to provide your employees with this on-going, real-time support to make them into “professional athletes”? Perhaps the question is: Can you afford not to?
The challenge: how to provide real-time support that is always there with the diabetic, but which is affordable across a large population? That is the underlying question that needs to be answered when assessing any diabetes management program.
Rebecca Dubowy, Chief Medical Officer



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