With diabetes rising at alarming rate, California puts money behind prevention campaign
California officials decided this week to dedicate $5 million to prevent people at high risk for diabetes from getting the disease, hoping to stem the huge numbers of Californians expected to be diagnosed in the coming years.
Currently 9% of Californians have diabetes, but a study last year found that 46% of adults in California have prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetic.
“That is a staggering number,” said Flojaune G. Cofer, research and state policy director for Davis-based Public Health Advocates, which sponsored the bill, SB 97, that adds the new funding.
Cofer said that if nothing is done to stop prediabetics from developing diabetes, millions more Californians will become diabetic in the next five years and the state’s diabetes rate will likely double. Approximately 70% of prediabetics will become diabetic in their lifetime.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday approved $5 million to pay for Medi-Cal recipients to enroll in the Diabetes Prevention Program starting July next year. Participants must be overweight and have high blood sugar levels, but not yet be considered diabetic.
The program helps people lose 5% to 7% of their body weight by eating more healthfully, exercising more and reducing stress — and has been shown to cut the risk of developing diabetes by more than half. California will become the third state to cover the program as a Medicaid benefit after Montana and Minnesota.
Daniel Zingale, senior vice president at the California Endowment, said Medi-Cal has long covered t Continue reading