American Diabetes Month

Thanksgiving Day and National American Heritage Month (often referred to as Native American Heritage Month) are both celebrated in November in the United States of America. Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November each year. It is at the end of the harvest season and is an annual Federal holiday to express thanks for material and spiritual possessions. Native America Heritage Month aims to provide a platform for Native American Indian peoples to share their culture, traditions, music, and crafts.

Did you know that November is also American Diabetes Month?

Diabetes is a group of diseases that result in too much sugar in the blood, or high blood glucose. Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States in 2010 based on the 69,071 death certificates in which diabetes was listed as the underlying cause of death. In 2010, diabetes was mentioned as a cause of death in a total of 234,051 certificates. The mission of the American Diabetes Association is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. “The vision of the American Diabetes Association is a life free of diabetes and all of its burdens. Raising awareness of this ever-growing disease is one of the main efforts behind the mission of the Association. American Diabetes Month® (ADM) is an important element in this effort, with programs designed to focus the nation’s attention on the issues surrounding diabetes and the many people who are impacted by the disease.”

How prevalent is diabetes in the United States of America?

Data from the National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014 (released June 10, 2014)

population-with-diabetesIn 2012, 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3% of the population, had diabetes. Approximately 1.25 million American children and adults have type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Of the 29.1 million, 21.0 million were diagnosed, and 8.1 million were undiagnosed. The percentage of Americans age 65 and older remains high, at 25.9%, or 11.8 million seniors (diagnosed and undiagnosed).

Diabetes by Race & Ethnicity

American Indians/Alaskan Natives, non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics have higher rates of diagnosed diabetes than Asians and non-Hispanic whites.

The rates of diagnosed diabetes by race/ethnic background are:

  • 7.6% of non-Hispanic whites
  • 9.0% of Asian Americans
  • 12.8% of Hispanics
  • 13.2% of non-Hispanic blacks
  • 15.9% of American Indians/Alaskan Natives


Cost of Diagnosed Diabetes

The American Diabetes Association estimates that the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $245
billion. Of the $245 billion, $176 billion for direct medical costs, and $69 billion in reduced productivity. According to the American Diabetes Association, “after adjusting for population age and sex differences, average medical expenditures among people with diagnosed diabetes were 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.”

Small Steps. Big Rewards. Prevent type 2 Diabetes. Campaign

Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed. The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) has created the Small Steps. adm-2015-social-share-1024x1024-dinnerBig Rewards. Prevent type 2 Diabetes campaign as a resource for preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes. The campaign’s message is as follows:

  • Small Steps: If you have pre-diabetes, losing a modest amount of weight – for example, 10 to 15 pounds for a 200-pound person – can help you prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. You can do it by building up to 30 minutes of physical activity a day 5 days a week and following a low-calorie, low-fat eating plan.
  • Big Rewards: Preventing type 2 diabetes can mean a healthier and longer life without serious complications from the disease such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and amputations.


  1. Hi Paul, lots of great information here about diabetes. I had not heard about the Small Steps Big Reward campaign. I clicked on the website for more details and one of the first things I noticed was under “Public Service Announcement” there are 3 different channels: TV, Radio and Print. Social Media was no where to be found! I think it would be particularly beneficial if the ADA used perhaps Facebook to stimulate knowledge and awareness with vast reach. In your research did you find any campaigns on social media that were particularly effective in raising awareness? You have one photo in your blog that mentions #EatWellAmerica. I think this is a start to getting people to eat healthy but I wonder if this message is the most powerful message to raise awareness on such a serious disease. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for ADA on Social Media this month.

    1. Thanks for your comments. I choose to write about American Diabetes Month because I do have a predisposition for diabetes because of genetics. As you can imagine, I pay attention to my health. In hindsight, I think the placement of my last image may have cause some confusion. That image is for the American Diabetes Association. The Small Steps, Big Rewards, Prevent type 2 Diabetes Campaign is organized via the The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP). The NDEP is a partnership of the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more than 200 public and private organizations. You are right in noting that the campaign has mainly 3 different channels (TV, Radio, and Print), under the Public Service Announcement. One would think that there would be more of a social media presence about this campaign. In doing research for this blog, I was a bit surprised that organizations such as the CDC have social media presence but not target to diabetes. You can find infrographics, memes, videos and podcasts about the diabetes but not targeted accounts to bring about diabetes awareness on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. This link supports my claim above. The American Diabetes Association has more of a social media presence that emphasize diabetes awareness.
      These can be found at

      1. Thank you for the detailed response! You are right, it appears ADA does have a social media presence. I wonder how these channels will be used during American Diabetes Month. Ill follow them on Twitter to see for myself!

  2. The American Diabetes Association has a lot of interesting content on their twitter and facebook accounts; however, I think they could do a much better job engaging with followers on twitter and creating content that’s relevant for #DiabetesMonth. They seem to use a lot of hashtags and are posting a lot of the same content day-after-day. I think they do a better job on Facebook.

    It’s also interesting to see that they have a twitter feed dedicated to their Spanish-speaking followers. They have much fewer followers on that account (2k compared to 97.5k) but they are posting regularly. As you mentioned above, the incidence for diabetes are higher for miniority populations, so it’s great that they have resources available for non-English speaking constituents!

  3. Thoughtful post about Diabetes, but I really expected more of a focus on the social/ digital media issues, given the topic of the class.

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