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New Research Shows Americans Are Informed Yet Not Self-Aware

Eight-two percent of Americans are aware that being overweight is a key risk factor for diabetes, yet those at risk are not applying this logic to themselves…. 

Diabetes is a serious chronic condition affecting people all over the world and instances of the illness are increasing. In 2011, 366 million people worldwide had diabetes, and the figure is expected to grow to 552 million by 2030. In the U.S., those numbers are 23 million and 29 million, respectively. Yet, when it comes to making lifestyle changes, Americans are falling far short. Despite considerable awareness of the risk factors that are well within their control, Americans are suffering from a "not me" syndrome.

According to a new international survey, released by Health Dialog, many Americans are aware that being overweight is a key risk factor for diabetes (82% are aware), yet those at risk are not applying this logic to themselves: 58% of American adults had a body mass index of 25 or over, classifying them as overweight or obese. Overall, 29% of American respondents were actually obese, with a body mass index of 30 or more. More than half of the obese respondents surveyed (51%) considered themselves to be healthy and 43% thought their diets were good.

Paradoxically, nearly three-quarters (74%) of American respondents said obesity, unhealthy diets, or low levels of physical activity constitute the nation’s biggest health issues. More than eight in ten (82%) American respondents knew that being overweight is a risk factor for the development of diabetes. The research showed mirroring trends in Great Britain (84% showing this link), New Zealand (84%) and Australia (82%). Respondents in India (51%), China (52%), Egypt (58%) Spain (60%) and Hong Kong (61%) were far less likely to see being overweight as a risk factor in the development of diabetes.

Peter Goldbach, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Health Dialog, noted that, "There is a startling disconnect between what people know about the risk factors associated with diabetes and what they are actually doing to protect themselves from a health and wellness standpoint." "Given their knowledge, people now need to realize that even small steps can make a big difference when it comes to eating better, exercising more regularly, or shedding a few pounds. At Health Dialog we understand the importance of wellness programs that fit easily into people’s lives and are more like fun than like a chore. It’s not about checking a box. It’s about integrating new behaviors little by little into everyday life."

International Diabetes Federation, http://www.idf.org/media-events/press-releases/2011/diabetes-atlas-5th-edition. International Diabetes Federation, http://www.idf.org/diabetesatlas/5e/the-global-burden. Health Dialog Services Corp.