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Secretary Tommy G. Thompson
Pre-Diabetes Initiative -- Adults

(March 27, 2002)

Actuality: 2 min 14 sec = approx. 11.8M

It's this group of people that we want to draw attention to today.

Through the expert work of the American Diabetes Association and this Department, we are presenting today a new classification for people who have high blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but they do not yet have diabetes. It's called pre-diabetes.

Statistics show that approximately 16 million people between ages 40 and 74 are overweight and considered to have "pre-diabetes." This number is on top of the 17 million people who already have diabetes.

The reason pre-diabetes is so serious is because most people who have it will develop type 2 diabetes over the next decade. People with pre-diabetes also are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, which is the number one killer of people with diabetes.

What gives us hope and encouragement, however, is that people with pre-diabetes can take meaningful steps now to reduce their risks and avoid having diabetes.

First we need to reach those with pre-diabetes. Most people with pre-diabetes don't know it, because they have no symptoms.

A working group of experts, including the ADA and our own National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, now recommends that doctors monitor their patients who are age 45 or older and are overweight, for pre-diabetes.

The recommendation also says that patients younger than 45 who are overweight and at high risk for developing diabetes should be monitored for pre-diabetes, too.

People with pre-diabetes need to be identified, and they need to know the seriousness of the condition.

More importantly, people need to know they can do something about it.

Modest improvements in diet and exercise can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in persons who have pre-diabetes.

In fact, research from the National Institutes of Health shows that a more nutritious diet and moderate exercise reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent in people at high risk for developing diabetes.

We want people to understand that we're talking about significant benefits that can be derived from modest exercise.

You don't have to be working up a big sweat in the gym or become a long-distance runner to gain the benefits of exercise. Just 30 minutes of walking a day, 5 days a week, can significantly reduce the risk of developing diabetes!


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Last revised: March 29, 2002