Thursday, July 26, 2012

Diabetes: how to combat a silent and costly killer? Why is DHHS omitting obesity?

Visiting the DHHS website to look for information about Secretary Kathleen Sebelius since she has still to respond to the letter asking her to request a Surgeon General's Report about sugary drinks I don't find much (if anything) about obesity control. I noticed that a quote at the top of her biography page is about prevention and its great potential positive impacts. Unfortunately I could not find one instance where she directly addresses sugary drinks issues. I find interesting that Howard Koh who is Assistant Secretary used to be at the forefront of tobacco control advocacy when he was leading the health services in Massachusets. Secretary Sebelius is also very much supportive of graphic health warnings on cigarette packs on this post about "How we can protect our youth from Big Tobacco". Why is it that they both seem so oblivious of the principal culprits of the obesity epidemic, Big Soda and Big Food? How is it possible that Howard Koh writes about diabetes without any mention of obesity control?

Diabetes: Combating a Silent and Costly Killer

By Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH, Assistant Secretary for Health

Posted July 09, 2012

By 2050, as many as 1 in 3 adults in the United States could have diabetes if current trends continue, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in 2009, and people with diagnosed diabetes have medical costs that are more than twice as high as for people without the disease. The Affordable Care Act, the health care law passed in 2010, includes a number of provisions that directly address gaps in diabetes prevention, screening, care, and treatment.
Last week, CDC released its Diabetes Report Card 2012, which provides a snapshot of the impact of diabetes on our nation. Required by the Affordable Care Act, the Report Card profiles national and state data on diabetes and pre-diabetes, preventive care practices, risk factors, quality of care, and diabetes outcomes.   It also documents the steps the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is taking to make a difference in the lives of millions of Americans living with diabetes and pre-diabetes today and to improve the lives of millions of Americans in the future through prevention.
HHS is committed to fighting the diabetes epidemic across all of its relevant agencies and programs through a broad range of research, education, and programs that strengthen prevention, detection, and treatment of diabetes.  Thanks to the health care law, potentially life-saving preventive services are now offered in many health plans with no cost-sharing. These include:
  • Type 2 Diabetes Screenings for people with high blood pressure,
  • Diet Counseling for people with known risk factors for cardiovascular and diet-related chronic disease, and
  • Blood Pressure Screenings.
In addition, the Affordable Care Act expanded  CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program, a public-private partnership of community organizations, private insurers, employers, health care organizations, and government agencies working together to combat diabetes.   The law also provides opportunities to improve treatment for people living with diabetes by supporting the creation of Medicaid health homes for enrollees with chronic conditions, and expands opportunities to address diabetes risk factors through community-based programs such as Community Transformation Grants.
We hope this Report Card will encourage individuals, communities, businesses, and other organizations to work with HHS to address the rising rates of diabetes and its consequences.  And we hope that more and more Americans will take advantage of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, including the many free preventive services, so we can stop the current diabetes trends and be a healthier nation.
Read the full Diabetes Report Card 2012 (PDF - 1.36 MB).

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