State encourages residents to ‘Prevent Diabetes’

HONOLULU – November National Diabetes Awareness Month, which is dedicated to raising awareness about diabetes risk factors and encouraging people to make healthy changes and choices.

In March 2017, the Hawaii Department of Health launched the “Prevent Diabetes Hawaii” campaign, which encourages residents to take an online Diabetes Risk Test and share the results with their doctor or healthcare provider.

Since then, one in 10 Hawaii residents have gone online to take a Diabetes Risk Test.

The “Prevent Diabetes Hawaii” campaign launched last year with a series of television and radio advertisements featuring local comedian Frank De Lima, who has type 2 diabetes himself. The campaign also highlights prediabetes, which means a person’s blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. More than half of adults in Hawaii have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, and most are not aware they have it.

“We want people to know that type 2 diabetes can be prevented,” said Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson. “Two out of every three adults with prediabetes do not know they have the disease, which indicates the need for more screening in Hawaii. The online risk test is a tool for people to find out if they are at risk for type 2 diabetes and talk about it with their healthcare providers.”

Unless trends change, 86,000 more people are expected to develop type 2 diabetes by 2023, costing the state $1.73 billion in combined treatment expenditures and lost productivity. People can reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes by eating healthy, increasing their physical activity, achieving a healthy weight, and not smoking. Entering a nearby diabetes prevention program can help with the lifestyle change.

“Up to 30 percent of adults with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within three to five years, so it is important to take the risk test now,” said Lola Irvin, administrator of DOH’s Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division. “Ask your ‘ohana and friends ‘Did you take the test?’ and you can make a big difference. It’s that easy.”

To take the Diabetes Risk Test, learn about local diabetes prevention programs, or to download campaign materials, visit www.PreventDiabetesHawaii.com.

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