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Employers can influence the prevention of Type 2 diabetes
Employees with diabetes report not just higher health care costs, but also more lost work time due to absence. In addition, their work performance is more likely to be impaired compared to workers with normal blood glucose, according to
Diabetes, a new report by the nonprofit
Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI), a workforce health and productivity research organization.
Approximately 26 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control; approximately 7 million of these individuals are undiagnosed. If current trends continue, one in three adult Americans will have diabetes by 2050.
The likelihood of diabetes generally increases with body mass and is highest among employees with chronic health conditions, including hypertension, heart disease, high cholesterol, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), sleeping disorders and anxiety.
“Treatment could help limit the toll of the disease, but many employees with diabetes may be unaware of their condition. Employers could benefit by improving diabetes awareness, encouraging healthy lifestyles and facilitating disease management,” IBI president Thomas Parry told
SHRM Online. “Equally as important, the same programs that employers can introduce to manage diabetes—with their emphasis on diet, exercise and coping skills—also help keep healthy workers healthy and support an overall culture of health.”
IBI’s analysis draws on data from 99,558 employees across 55 employers, an average of 1,810 workers per employer. Among the findings:
Employers can influence the prevention of
Type 2 diabetes and help control the effects of diabetes for their employees who are already diagnosed by taking the following steps:
“Given the ever-increasing rate of diabetes and its consequences, the time for employers to act is now. Introduce clinical screening programs, adopt lifestyle intervention programs for those in the pre-diabetic stage and provide targeted disease management for those already diagnosed. Finally, broadly measure the results of your interventions so you can show the full value of your programs,” said IBI Research Director Kim Jinnett.
Stephen Miller, CEBS, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
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