NOTE: The following is an excerpt from TeleVox’s Healthy World report, “Discussing Diabetes: The Essential Conversation That Could Change the Health of the Nation”, which examines the idea of technology-enabled between-visit engagement to help patients with the prevention and management of diabetes. Download it HERE!
A diabetes diagnosis can occur for a number of reasons. As the American Diabetes Association points out, “Being overweight is a risk factor for developing diabetes, but other risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age also play a role…Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight.”
Discussing Diabetes bears this out. It shows that more than half of Americans (52 percent) believe themselves to be overweight or obese but that one in eight (12 percent) have been diagnosed with diabetes — which, allowing for statistical deviation, is in line with the American Diabetes Association’s own numbers. The number of diagnosed diabetics increases with age, but remains more or less constant across gender, income bracket, education level, occupation type and location.
Of those diabetes patients, nearly two thirds (63 percent) feel that being overweight has had a negative impact on their health, half have also suffered from obesity, and eight in ten (82 percent) have been told to lose weight by their doctor. On the other hand, only 30 percent of people who have experienced obesity have also been diagnosed with diabetes.
However, weight is the key risk factor over which most people have some control and given its association with type 2 diabetes, it is perhaps not surprising that the majority of Americans believe that weight and obesity are a problem — if not for themselves, then for the country as a whole.
According to Discussing Diabetes, nearly two in five people without diabetes (38 percent) believe that their weight has had a negative impact on their health. But three in five (61 percent) think that adult obesity is a significant problem facing the country. What’s more, 65 percent believe childhood obesity is a problem. Those numbers rise slightly — to 67 percent and 66 percent respectively — among people who have already been diagnosed with diabetes.
But even with these relatively high levels of awareness, the general population is still more optimistic than their physicians and medical experts. The number of medical professionals who believe that obesity is a problem is much higher. Nearly nine in ten (86 percent) medical professionals surveyed for Discussing Diabetes feel that adult obesity is a problem. The same number (87 percent) feel that childhood obesity presents America with a serious problem.