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Many Americans Fear Being Diagnosed With Diabetes
Date:3/24/2009

But most do little to reduce risks of getting blood sugar disease, survey finds

TUESDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- More than half of Americans fear developing diabetes, but many continue the unhealthy behaviors that boost their odds of getting the blood sugar disease, a new survey shows.

"I think people continue the risky behaviors because they think, 'It's not going to happen to me,'" said Dr. Richard M. Bergenstal, president-elect for medicine and science for the American Diabetes Association, which commissioned the survey. "Or, they know they are at risk but they are so ingrained in their daily lifestyle they have not been motivated to change."

The survey, released Tuesday as part of American Diabetes Alert Day, is meant as a "wake-up call" to raise awareness of diabetes and its risk factors.

The poll was conducted online by Harris Interactive in February and early March. More than 2,500 U.S. adults aged 18 and above were polled.

Choosing from a list, 52 percent of respondents said having a chronic illness was the worst thing they could imagine happening. In comparison, just 19 percent said drowning in debt would be the worst thing, while 13 percent cited getting a divorce or living alone, 11 percent cited losing their job and 4 percent said gaining significant weight would be the worst thing.

About half said they haven't talked to their doctor about common chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS or Alzheimer's disease.

Most of those polled knew at least one diabetes risk factor, but fewer than half recognized their own risk factors (such as overweight). And more than half the respondents mistakenly said eating too much sugar was a diabetes risk factor.

While 70 percent of respondents said maintaining an unhealthy weight is risky, 46 percent admitted to being overweight.

And while 66 percent of those who answered said avoiding doctor
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