THURSDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- A national community-based diabetes prevention program in the United States could prevent or delay 885,000 cases of type 2 diabetes over 25 years, a new federal government study says.
Overall, the program would save $29.8 billion in medical costs. But, the program itself would require a $24 billion investment. Still, the researchers said, it would only take about 14 years to recoup the money spent on the program.
"The take-home message is that implementing screening and community-based lifestyle interventions can improve health and reduce health care costs over the long term. This is an efficient use of health care resources," said Xiaohui Zhuo, a health economist in the division of diabetes translation at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Findings from Zhuo's study are published in the January issue of Health Affairs, a thematic issue of the journal looking at diabetes prevention programs.
Almost 26 million Americans have type 2 diabetes, according to the CDC. The exact cause of the disease is unknown, but lifestyle factors such as being overweight or not exercising are strongly associated with the development of type 2 diabetes. People diagnosed with prediabetes can often prevent the development of type 2 diabetes by losing some weight and increasing their physical activity. The American Diabetes Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week.
According to the new study, everyone in the country between 65 and 84 would receive a letter offering laboratory screening for diabetes. The researchers assumed that younger people would be screened at their physicians' offices.
Zhuo's hypothetical lifestyle program is a community-based intervention based on the "Promoting a Lifestyle of Activity and Nutrition for Working to Alter the Risk of Diabetes" study. The
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