WASHINGTON – Leaders in the fight against diabetes say they know how to prevent the disease but they need $80 million from Congress to do it.
The Diabetes Prevention Program targets adults considered to be pre-diabetic,anyone who is overweight with higher-than-normal blood glucose levels. About 79 million Americans are at risk of developing diabetes.
The program has teamed up with several diabetes advocacy organizations and the YMCA to create host sites for the program and measure individuals’ results.
Participants in the program are treated through a combination of diet and exercise and,in some cases,metaformin,a drug commonly prescribed to patients with type 2 diabetes. The program’s study of adults with pre-diabetes showed participants significantly reduced their risk of developing diabetes with dietary change,light exercise and some weight loss.
Despite proposed extensive cuts to the federal budget,Rep. Reid Ribble,R-Wisc.,said the Diabetes Prevention Program’s partnership with the YMCA will catch the attention of Congress.
“We have to direct our very scarce resources to places that get results,” he said. “The one thing about the YMCA is that you can measure an outcome. … You can see a person’s physical fitness rate when they start a program and when they end program.”
Katie Adamson,YMCA director of health partnerships and policy,said it costs about $300 per person for the program’s 16 one-hour sessions. The program has grown to 116 sites funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If the program does receive more money,it would set up new program sites,train staff and create awareness campaigns to educate people on how to reduce their risk of developing the disease.
Brandon Moody,a spokesman for Ribble,said there are a number of funding streams for the National Diabetes Prevention Program,including the CDC and the Prevention and Public Health Fund.
In its proposed budget,the House voted recently to eliminate the Public Health Fund.
While other speakers at the briefing talked facts and figures,Ribble spoke from experience. His brother has diabetes.
Nicole Johnson Miss America 1999 was diagnosed with diabetes while she was in college. She said she’s given herself thousands of shots and has worn an insulin pump for more than 14 years. Johnson has been a spokeswoman for diabetes for more than a decade.
Reach reporter Anya Sippen at [email protected] or 202-326-9865
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