by Dr. Suneil Koliwad, senior medical advisor for Yes Health
The American Diabetes Association (ADA), American Medical Association (AMA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have teamed up with the Ad Council to produce a new series of short ads focused on prediabetes that launched last week. Prediabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes, which predisposes people to a variety of complications, including heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and amputations. But when caught early enough and treated with healthy, long-term lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, prediabetes can be successfully reversed.
The ads speak directly to the now more than 86 million people in our country estimated to have prediabetes, of which 40 million could develop full-blown type 2 diabetes over the next five years. One particularly alarming aspect of prediabetes is the lack of awareness and treatment information—only 11% of people with the condition even know they have it. The new ads hit right at this issue by grabbing people emotionally and intellectually and encouraging them to find out where they stand.
The campaign, which you can watch right now online, will run over the next 18 months during television commercial breaks, is both striking and refreshingly straightforward. The ads communicate how easy it is for anyone to know their risk for having prediabetes by taking an incredibly simple test. The test involves adding up points for age, sex, body type, family history, and degree of physical activity. Check out the test here: https://doihaveprediabetes.org/. The hope is by creating more awareness, people will be inspired to engage their doctor in a deeper discussion about their potential risk and need for further testing.
Perhaps most importantly, these ads highlight how anybody who places a priority on their health has the power to prevent diabetes. Indeed, the lifestyle changes that have been proven to help prevent diabetes (more exercise, better nutrition, improved well-being) are simple, inexpensive and exceptionally powerful. These are also the foundation of the Yes Health program.
Such “lifestyle medicine” can be much more potent in preventing diabetes than prescription medications, and it doesn’t require a co-pay. Yes Health has worked diligently to encapsulate all of the scientifically validated aspects of diabetes prevention into a program that people can access whenever and wherever they want, weaving their prevention efforts right into the fabric of how they lead their lives. Having the tools you need to prevent diabetes constantly at your fingertips may be a way to end complacency and really improve health nationwide. Take the test today and find out your risk level.
Dr. Suneil Koliwad is a core faculty member in the world-class UCSF Diabetes Center. He has taught medical students, residents and clinical endocrinology fellows the fundamentals of diabetes and its prevention for nearly a decade as an attending physician at the San Francisco General Hospital.