NEW YORK, NY: Losing weight and being healthier are at the top of everyone's New Year's resolutions. But, despite the best intentions, work, kids, and social events often push lifestyle changes to the bottom of the list. While many are familiar with type 2 diabetes, fewer are aware of prediabetes, a serious health condition that affects 86 million Americans (more than 1 in 3) and often leads to type 2 diabetes. People with prediabetes have higher than normal blood glucose (sugar) levels, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
To raise awareness and help people with prediabetes know where they stand and how to prevent type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have partnered with the Ad Council to launch the first national public service advertising (PSA) campaign about prediabetes. The PSA campaign, featuring first-of-its-kind communications techniques, was developedpro bono by Ogilvy & Mather New York for the Ad Council.
Nearly 90 percent of people with prediabetes don't know they have it and aren't aware of the long-term risks to their health, including type 2 diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. Current trends suggest that, if not treated, 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years. The good news is that prediabetes often can be reversed through weight loss, diet changes and increased physical activity. Diagnosis is key: research shows that once people are aware of their condition, they are much more likely to make the necessary lifestyle changes.
The campaign launched today and has a simple but strong message: No one is excused from prediabetes. Humorous PSAs in English and Spanish encourage people to take a short online test at DoIHavePrediabetes.org to learn their risk. People can also take the risk test in real-time through interactive TV and radio PSAs, and learn more about the risk factors associated with the condition. The campaign website features lifestyle tips and links to CDC's National Diabetes Prevention Program, which connects visitors to a registry of CDC-recognized programs across the country. The campaign also includes an integrated SMS texting initiative which will allow people to take the risk test via text message and receive ongoing support and lifestyle tips. Per the Ad Council's model, all media will run in time and space entirely donated.
"Awareness is crucial in the effort to stop type 2 diabetes," said David Marrero, Ph.D., Director of the Diabetes Translation Research Center at the Indiana University School of Medicine and former President, Health Care & Education at the American Diabetes Association. "Take one minute to take the risk test today and share it with your loved ones. The prediabetes risk test will help you know where you stand and help us get closer to our vision of a life free of diabetes and all of its burdens."
"Knowing that you have prediabetes is just the first step in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes," said AMA President-Elect Andrew W. Gurman, M.D. "As soon as someone discovers they may be at risk of prediabetes, they should talk with their physician about further testing to confirm their diagnosis and discuss the necessary lifestyle changes needed to help prevent type 2 diabetes."
"For the 86 million Americans with prediabetes, we need to communicate a sense of urgency -- that it's time to take action," said Ann Albright, Ph.D., R.D., director of CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation. "By participating in a CDC-recognized diabetes prevention program, people with prediabetes can learn practical, real-life changes and cut their risk for developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent."
"I think the scary thing is that this really touches everyone – 1 in 3 could be your brother or sister, your best friend or partner," said Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council. "Our hope is that the risk test will make it easy for people to know where they stand, and motivate them to take steps to reverse their condition."
"With this campaign we are hoping to spark a change because the reality is that the majority of the public is either unaware or does not take prediabetes seriously," said Corinna Falusi, Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy & Mather New York Advertising. "We created the real-time test, which is the first of its kind and addresses people's naivety of prediabetes, allowing prediabetes tests to be conducted in a 60-second TV commercial. Instead of simply educating the viewer, we are pushing them to take action in the moment and get results from that action."
The ADA, AMA and CDC are working with their local offices, affiliates, and partners to promote and activate the campaign in their communities, with resources for physicians and other health care providers to aid in the screening, diagnosis and treatment process.
Editor's Note: AMA Viewpoints article with guidance for health care providers.
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