According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes. The current trends in American diet and lifestyle will only cause this number to grow in the coming years. A recent report released by the CDC states that decreasing the mortality rates related to obesity in America is fast becoming a public health priority. Targeting schools and workplaces to introduce preventative strategies may help reduce these risks and the burdens associated with them.
One of the growing social burdens caused by diabetes is medical costs. In 2012, 176 billion dollars were spent addressing medical issues related to diabetes. Over 60% of that cost was covered by government insurance like Medicaid, Medicare, and military. People who did not have medical coverage averaged 55% more emergency room visits than those with insurance. This seems to be due to not maintaining proper prescription coverage under the care of a monitoring physician. The cost for American taxpayers is growing beyond our ability to support the need.
In the work sector, reductions in productivity cause a ripple effect that is impacting the entire economy. In 2012, 69 billion dollars were lost due to reduced productivity. A loss of 21.6 billion was attributed to an inability to work due to a disease-related disability. 20.8 billion was lost due to reduced productivity while at work. There is a growing need for task forces, like those implemented by the CDC, to implement policies that offer adequate nutrition and physical activity.
These task forces offer reasonable strategies that schools and workplaces can implement to enable a proactive approach to diabetes. This is a preventable disease that is taking over America. Adequate access to healthy foods and increased opportunities for physical activity can drastically decrease the risk of diabetes in adults and children. In turn, this will reduce the cost of risky procedures and lifesaving measures, among other costs, used to treat patients with diabetes. The costs related to medical intervention will far exceed the cost of preventative care.
Increased Need for Qualified Professionals
To accomplish these goals, more professionals in the field of public health will need to be trained in furthering education. A staggering 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with this preventable disease every year. Greater efforts in the public health sector are needed to address this growing population and begin to reduce those numbers.
For those already serving in the healthcare field, it may be time to consider pursuing a master of public health. This rewarding field can meet the overwhelming needs of communities across the country. You can earn an MPH degree online anywhere by participating in a program like the one offered at the University of Southern California. Their world-class school puts them on the cutting edge in research and technology—pushing you to the front of the field. If you have been thinking about how you can make a changing impact on your community, this could be your opportunity.
Diabetes has become a leading public health concern in America. Professionals are needed to address these concerns within their communities. Together, we can effect change by helping schools and workplaces implement preventative strategies. Providing students and workers with proper nutrition and opportunities for physical activity can effectively reduce the risks and costs associated with this disease.