Recognizing Prediabetes Day – And Taking Action to Help Seniors Reduce Risk
Tomorrow is World Diabetes Day – a day for patients, providers, and organizations across the globe to draw attention and awareness to a chronic disease epidemic that is affecting every region in the world. According to statistics from the International Diabetes Federation, 642 million adults worldwide will be diabetic by 2040. Today, someone dies from diabetes every six seconds. On Thursday, the IDF released the executive summary of their Diabetes Atlas – they’ll release the full report on December 1, but the key statistics are already eye popping.
Experts are also recognizing the correlation between diabetes and health care spending – as the G20 meetings in Turkey approach this weekend, diabetes experts estimate that countries are spending between five and 20 percent of their health care budgets treating diabetes. We already know that a diabetic patient costs his or her health plan or employer $10,000 more every year, on average.
But instead of waiting until tomorrow to draw awareness, Omada is recognizing Prediabetes Day today. Prediabetes day is a day for those at for those at the tipping point of type 2 diabetes to know their risk, take action, and reduce the chances of progressing to the full disease.
Today, over 86 million Americans — that’s one in three of us — have prediabetes. Even scarier, fewerthan 10% of those with the condition are even aware they have it. The figures for older Americans are even more frightening. More than one in four Americans over the age of 65 – 11.2 million seniors – has diabetes, and the CDC estimates that 51 percent of all seniors are prediabetic. The disease is shortening life spans, decreasing quality of life, and costing the country billions of dollars: of the $322 billion the U.S. spent last year on diabetes, nearly $200 was spent by Medicare.
So before we take a moment to recognize the immense toll diabetes is taking on individuals around the world, we’re encouraging friends, family, and neighbors to learn more about prediabetes, and learn how modest changes to eating, activity, and lifestyle habits can reduce the likelihood of developing the condition.
It only takes a few simple steps, but they can make a big difference. And today, we announced the results of a partnership with Humana that demonstrate the impact those step can have.
We partnered with Humana, one of the most innovative insurers in the country, to deploy and test Prevent to nearly 500 seniors on Medicare Advantage. The average participant age in this group was nearly 70 – a life stage not known for big time changes, and group that’s unaccustomed to integrating digital technology into their health care.
But the results of the program were outstanding.
Six months after starting the program, 85 percent of participants remained engaged – a best-in-class rate for behavioral counseling (either in-person or digital). Most importantly, the average Prevent graduate in this group lost 8.7 percent of body weight – data from the Diabetes Prevention Program clinical trial indicates this level of weight loss in at-risk individuals over 60 years old is associated with a 71%+ reduction in type 2 diabetes risk at three years.
These results show us that seniors are not only open to using digital health programs; many of them thrived, and achieved results that will significantly improve their health. These results show that digital diabetes prevention – and digital behavioral medicine more generally – can be a viable path for seniors at the tipping point for chronic disease. Humana was an ideal partner for this deployment – the company has 3.2 million Medicare Advantage members. We’re even more hopeful that Medicare will embrace the promise of prevention when it comes to diabetes – commercial insurance leaders like Humana are already leading the way.
Beyond the numbers of this deployment are the stories of seniors who have changed their lives in ways they might have never thought possible. With Prevent, participants called healthy eating “effortless,” added exercise into their daily routines as a “second-nature,” and recognized the value of teamwork and competition from the support group helping them achieve their goals.
Mary lost 29 pounds using Prevent, was able to come off of some of her prescription medication, and gained confidence in her ability to be around for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “I just feel…better,” said Mary. This Prediabetes Day, that’s something to celebrate.