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Kentucky Receives New Funding to Fight Prediabetes Epidemic

Wednesday, 03 20, 2013

Beth Fisher or Gwenda Bond, (502) 564-6786, ext. 3101 or 3100

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) has been awarded a federal grant to help curb rates of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes among residents of the Commonwealth. The award, worth $134,380, comes from the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Similar awards will also go to seven other states.


Kentucky was selected based on its discussions and planning to work with the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP), which specifically targets individuals with prediabetes and works with them to reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.


“Diabetes is a tremendous public health concern that is both horrific for the individual, if unmanaged, and costly in terms of medications, various complications and long-term hospitalizations that are so often associated with the disease,” said Health and Family Services Cabinet Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes. “We must act now to begin reversing the devastating impact of diabetes on our state. We are excited to continue our work with the Diabetes Prevention Program to help more Kentuckians start making healthier lifestyle choices so they can avoid developing diabetes and lead longer, healthier lives.”


Type 2 diabetes, the most common type, is a disorder in which the body does not appropriately make or use insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert food into energy. As a result, glucose (commonly referred to as “sugar”) builds up in the blood. If glucose, or blood sugar, stays too high, it can cause damage to the body.


Type 2 diabetes is more common among people who are older, overweight, physically inactive, have a family history of diabetes, have ever had gestational diabetes, and are African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Asian American, or Pacific Islander.


Meanwhile, prediabetes is a condition in which blood sugar is elevated but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes often leads to type 2 diabetes within a few years. However, DPP lifestyle change programs can decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by almost 60 percent.


“Prediabetes has become an absolute epidemic in America,” said John Robitscher, CEO of the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors. “We appreciate the opportunity that CDC has provided us to identify well-positioned states that can make a difference in slowing the incidence of this alarming trend.”


“Nearly a quarter of a million (233,000) Kentuckians are estimated to have prediabetes at this time,” said Department for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Stephanie Mayfield, M.D. “This condition may progress to a diagnosis of diabetes if actions to halt the progress of the disease are not taken.”


The DPH Kentucky Diabetes Prevention and Control Program is coordinating the diabetes prevention grant project in the Commonwealth. The program has been collaborating with a steering committee to develop a work plan for the grant. 


The committee includes sites that currently offer the National Diabetes Prevention Program - the YMCA of Greater Louisville, the YMCA of Central Kentucky, and the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati.  In addition, the Louisville Metro Department of Health and Wellness, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, the Northern Kentucky Independent District Health Department and the Department for Public Health’s Worksite Wellness Program are also participating.      


Kentucky will focus on three diabetes prevention strategies – raising awareness among healthcare providers to improve the recognition and treatment of prediabetes; encouraging state and local government to add CDC-recognized lifestyle change programs to its list of covered services under employee health plans; and partnering with businesses to increase support for coverage of CDC-recognized lifestyle change programs as a covered benefit.


NACDD will partner with the state of Kentucky to provide technical assistance along with help from the National Business Coalition on Health and the Directors of Health Promotion Education.
Other states selected to receive grant funding include, Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Washington and West Virginia.  Each state will have until Dec. 31, 2013 to complete its project work.


CDC estimates 79 million people in America have prediabetes. It also projects national efforts to prevent type 2 diabetes could save $5.7 billion in health care costs and prevent 885,000 cases of type 2 diabetes in the next 25 years.


“This is an extremely important opportunity for states to demonstrate how they can play a part in supporting increased use of lifestyle change programs,” said Senior Diabetes Consultant for NACDD Marti Macchi, who will oversee the grant program.


For more information about the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, visit www.chronicdisease.org.


For more information about the National Diabetes Prevention Program, visit www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention.


For more information about the DPH Diabetes Prevention and Control Program as well as the impact of diabetes in Kentucky, visit http://www.chfs.ky.gov/dph/info/dpqi/cd/diabetes.htm.

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The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is home to most of the state's human services and health care programs, including Medicaid, the Department for Community Based Services and the Department for Public Health. CHFS is one of the largest agencies in state government, with nearly 8,000 full and part-time employees throughout the Commonwealth focused on improving the lives and health of Kentuckians.