Diabetes rates in North Carolina have nearly doubled in 20 years, reflecting a rapidly growing epidemic that costs billions of dollars in medical spending and a less efficient workforce, according to a new report from Harvard University.
Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the state, where the disease is far more prevalent than in the U.S. overall, according to a press release.
Its the third-leading cause of death among Native Americans and fourth among African Americans.
Funded through a grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation and released May 29 in Raleigh, the report from the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School is the result of research and over 90 interviews with policymakers, government agencies and nonprofits involved in North Carolinas response to diabetes.
This growing threat to the health of North Carolinians is also a threat to the states economy, according to the report. which indicates diabetes is on track to cost the states public and private sectors more than $17 billion a year in medical expenses and lost productivity by 2025. It recommends the state take collaborative, coordinated efforts to attack known risk factors for diabetes for the population overall, and improve the quality of care and access to it for all who have the disease.
The report calls for multipronged changes to the states healthcare, nutrition and physical activity landscapes, including better access to healthy food and education programs; better access to medical and lifestyle interventions; improvements in the built environment; and new legislation and diabetes-related task forces.
In the U.S., diabetes affects nearly 26 million children and adults, or 1 in 10 Americans, and is the main cause of death for more than 71,000 Americans a year, according to the American Diabetes Association.
To see what else is trending, visit www.Nurse.com/Diabetes.