Washington, D.C.-area residents will now have access to two community-based programs that are clinically proven to help prevent and control type 2 diabetes.
To mark the launch of these programs, and in recognition of National Diabetes Month, the YMCA of Greater Metropolitan Washington will host a Community Forum this morning featuring distinguished panelists that include Ann Albright, Ph.D., RD, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Diabetes Translation. The forum, being held at YMCA National Capital, is a call to action for Americans to say “NOT ME”™ to type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, a condition closely linked with obesity that has reached epidemic proportions.
The incidence of diabetes in the D.C. area supports the need for these programs. Nearly 11 percent of Washington, D.C., adults have been diagnosed with diabetes, compared with 8.7 percent nationwide, according to the CDC. Diabetes costs the District nearly $300 million annually, the D.C. Department of Health estimates.
“The good news for people in the D.C. area and nationwide this National Diabetes Month is that type 2 diabetes is largely preventable, and if someone has it already, it’s manageable,” said Deneen Vojta, M.D., executive vice president, UnitedHealth Group and chief clinical officer of the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance. “It is the small lifestyle decisions we make every day that make the biggest impact, and that is what these community-based programs are all about.”
Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes, and another 79 million American adults are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, according to the CDC. Diabetes cost the country an estimated $194 billion in 2010. If current trends continue, more than half of all Americans will have diabetes or prediabetes by 2020, at a cost of almost $500 billion, according to the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization.
D.C., Maryland, and Virginia Say “NOT ME” to Diabetes and Prediabetes
The Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance (DPCA) – launched by UnitedHealth Group, the Y and retail pharmacies – is anchored by two evidence-based programs now available in the Metropolitan D.C. area:
The programs are available at no out-of-pocket cost to participants enrolled in employer-provided health insurance plans through UnitedHealthcare. The federal government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) approved implementation of the DPCA for its 2012 Federal Health Benefits (FEHB) Plan, which covers more than 100,000 federal government enrollees and their families.
“We are committed to implementing this program, which focuses on preventing conversion to type 2 diabetes and improves health outcomes,” said Thys DeYoung, contracting officer for the OPM. “Our interest is heightened because DPCA addresses our nation’s serious and growing diabetes issue. OPM is pleased to be an early adopter of the DPCA, particularly when the program has been researched and supported by the CDC.”
Forum Urges Nation to Take Action, Promotes Diabetes and Prediabetes Awareness
The YMCA of Metropolitan Washington will host a Y Community Forum, “The United States of Diabetes: Public-Private Programs to Tackle Our Preventable Epidemic,” to raise awareness of the nation’s diabetes and prediabetes epidemic. Following Dr. Albright’s keynote remarks, Kelly M. Butler, editor in chief, Employee Benefit News, will moderate a panel discussion on individual, community and corporate wellness and community-based approaches to help tackle the disease. The multidisciplinary panel will include:
“National Diabetes Month is a time to raise awareness and have our voices heard about the epidemic of diabetes that is devastating the health and resources of our communities,” said Dr. Albright. “We know that losing a modest amount of weight can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in people with prediabetes. It’s encouraging to see public-private partnerships spreading the reach of effective programs to create a healthier future for the 79 million Americans with prediabetes.”
The Diabetes Prevention Program: Preventing Diabetes through Lifestyle Changes
DPCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is offered across the mid-Atlantic region in partnership with the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington. Research has shown that lifestyle changes and a 5- to 7-percent weight reduction can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent in people with prediabetes.
“Prediabetes is a warning, but it’s not a verdict – it is vital that we do everything we can to reach the nearly 80 million Americans who have prediabetes before they develop type 2 diabetes,” said Reese-Hawkins. “The Y has the historic sweep, the community trust and the geographic reach to help bring this proven intervention program to thousands in the metro D.C. area and millions nationwide.”
The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program has earned the praise of government officials and legislators and recently won the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services 2011 Healthy Living Innovation Award. Financial assistance is available through the YMCA. For more information on the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program visit the website for the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington.
The Diabetes Control Program: Reducing Dangerous, Costly Diabetes Complications
The Diabetes Control Program is offered across the mid-Atlantic region in partnership with Rite Aid. At participating pharmacies in the metro D.C. area, people with diabetes will have access to trained Rite Aid pharmacists who provide personalized coaching and counseling and help patients improve adherence to their treatment plans. The goal is for patients to improve blood glucose control and HbA1c levels, an indicator of glucose management. According to the National Institutes of Health, every percentage point drop in HbA1c correlates to a 40-percent decreased risk of developing complications from diabetes such as kidney failure, blindness and limb amputations.
“Rite Aid is proud to help shine a spotlight on our nation’s diabetes epidemic and to partner with UnitedHealth Group to bring this comprehensive diabetes treatment and self-care management program to the metro D.C. area,” said Robert I. Thompson, Rite Aid executive vice president of pharmacy. “Living with diabetes is no easy task. It helps to have a trusted pharmacist specifically trained in diabetes care and medication therapy management as close as the neighborhood Rite Aid.”
About the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance (DPCA)
The Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance (DPCA) is an employer- and community-based initiative aimed at tipping the scales against the epidemic of type 2 diabetes, prediabetes and obesity. DPCA was launched in April 2010 through a partnership with UnitedHealth Group, the YMCA and Walgreens. It has expanded to include Rite Aid and other pharmacy partners, as well as Novo Nordisk and Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings subsidiary, Home Healthcare Laboratory of America.
The DPCA signature programs are now available in 46 markets in 24 states and will continue to roll out in additional cities across the country through 2012. To learn more about diabetes and resources offered by UnitedHealth Group, visit: www.unitedhealthgroup.com/diabetes.
About the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington
The YMCA of Metropolitan Washington has been providing vital programs and services for local adults, children and families for more than 150 years. Along the way, we have seen unprecedented growth and change in the communities we serve. The YMCA’s roots in the Washington metropolitan region are deep, and the impact of the organization continues to grow each year. Visit www.ymcadc.org for more information.
About Rite Aid
Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD) is one of the nation’s leading drugstore chains with approximately 4,700 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through Rite Aid’s website at www.riteaid.com.
About UnitedHealth Group
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is a diversified health and well-being company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making health care work better. With headquarters in Minnetonka, Minn., UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of products and services through two distinct platforms: UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits services; and Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled health services. Through its businesses, UnitedHealth Group serves more than 75 million people worldwide. Visit www.unitedhealthgroup.com for more information.