November is National Diabetes Month. The American Diabetes Association estimates that nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes and another 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Clearly, this is a major public health issue. You may be wondering – how many people with IDD have diabetes? The answer is we aren’t sure, but we do know that diabetes is a common secondary condition affecting people with IDD. One study found that adults with cognitive limitations had a significantly higher prevalence of diabetes than did adults with no disability (19.4% vs. 3.8%, respectively). Major risk factors for diabetes include being overweight and lack of physical activity—factors we know disproportionality impact people with IDD.
Diabetes, like many other chronic health conditions, can be treated or prevented with appropriate health education and interventions but people with IDD often don’t have access to these services. This is a problem that HealthMeet™ is aiming to solve!
The main goal of The Arc’s HealthMeet™ project is to conduct health assessments, provide linkages and referrals to services and customized health navigation, and spread health education to people with ID.
The Arc of New Jersey, a HealthMeet™ pilot site, has produced a publication, “Prevent, Understand, and Live with Diabetes: A Guide for People with Developmental Disabilities” as part of their Diabetes Awareness and Education Project. This guide, which is available in English and Spanish, educates individuals with IDD and their caregivers about important steps to take to help prevent and control diabetes, including diet changes, improved exercise habits, and regular monitoring by a health care professional.
Through HealthMeet™, we will continue to share resources like this guide on our website to help people with IDD and their support system learn more about the serious, yet potentially preventable, health issues that affect them. In doing so, we will reduce health disparities, increase longevity and improve the quality of life for people with IDD.
Please join us for a HealthMeet Webinar: Prevent, Understand, and Live with Diabetes on Monday, December 5, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET. The webinar will be led by Nurse Practitioner, Leone Murphy, from The Arc of New Jersey, who will present information on The Arc of New Jersey’s diabetes project.