Health Advocates Begin Campaign to Raise Awareness of Prediabetes

Health Advocates Begin Campaign to Raise Awareness of Prediabetes
Image: Pixabay
January 25, 2016

While many are familiar with type 2 diabetes, fewer are aware of prediabetes, a serious health condition that affects 86 million Americans (more than 1 in 3) and often leads to type 2 diabetes. People with prediabetes have higher than normal blood sugar levels, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

To raise awareness and help people with prediabetes know where they stand and how to prevent type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have partnered with the Ad Council to launch the first national public service advertising (PSA) campaign about prediabetes.

Nearly 90 percent of people with prediabetes don't know they have it and aren't aware of the long-term risks to their health, including type 2 diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. Current trends suggest that, if not treated, 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.

The good news is that prediabetes often can be reversed through weight loss, diet changes and increased physical activity. Diagnosis is key: research shows that once people are aware of their condition, they are much more likely to make the necessary lifestyle changes.

The campaign has a simple but strong message: No one is excused from prediabetes.

Humorous PSAs in English and Spanish encourage people to take a short online test at DoIHavePrediabetes.org to learn their risk. People can also take the risk test in real-time through interactive TV and radio PSAs, and learn more about the risk factors associated with the condition. The campaign website features lifestyle tips and links to CDC's National Diabetes Prevention Program, which connects visitors to a registry of CDC-recognized programs across the country. The campaign also includes an integrated SMS texting initiative which will allow people to take the risk test via text message and receive ongoing support and lifestyle tips. Per the Ad Council's model, all media will run in time and space entirely donated.

"Knowing that you have prediabetes is just the first step in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes," AMA President-Elect Andrew W. Gurman said in a written statement. "As soon as someone discovers they may be at risk of prediabetes, they should talk with their physician about further testing to confirm their diagnosis and discuss the necessary lifestyle changes needed to help prevent type 2 diabetes."

The PSA campaign, featuring first-of-its-kind communications techniques, was developed pro bono by Ogilvy & Mather New York for the Ad Council.